Invasive marine species loses its grip during recent storms

A trail of common, or American, slipper limpets has appeared along the high tide line stretching from Millbrook to La Haule, littering the beach with shells.

Environments marine resources department says the limpets were most likely dislodged from their usual habitat on the sea bed and swept ashore by the rough seas and high winds that hit the Island over Christmas and new year.

Slipper limpets (Latin name crepidula fornicata) originate from the west coast of America. The species is believed to have spread to the Island in the mid-1970s from France, having been carried across the Atlantic in the ballast tanks of cargo ships.

Rather than lamenting the loss of such a high number of shellfish, the loss of this species is welcome news for the department because of the limpets destructive effect on the sea bed and other species.

Once established in an area it spreads rapidly over the sea bed, destroying the habitats that local species and oyster farmers rely on.

Environment is currently drawing up a strategy to help the Island deal with the invasion of limpets and other species that pose a risk to local waters.

Dr Paul Chambers, marine and coastal manager who recently published a report on the non-native marine species in the Channel Islands, said: This is a global problem and not unique to us, and one we cant solve on our own in any effective way.

We cant prevent a species getting into our marine environment in the first place, so part of the job is to conduct research so we are ....

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