The creation of the man-made Suez Canal that links the Red Sea to the Mediterranean has made it easier to ship goods from Asia and Africa to Europe, but it has caused a number of environmental problems. One is invasive species like jellyfish multiplying with no end in sight in the Mediterranean Sea.
While one company Cine’al thinks it can cull all the over-jellied seas into a new kind of disposable diaper, fears are getting super serious now that Egypt is talking about expanding the Suez Canal once again in an $8 billion project.
Local newspapers in Israel are calling the expansion ominous as it will lead to more invasive species – land creatures and plants that live in the Indian Ocean swimming and moving to the Mediterranean and vice versa.
While it sounds like a peace plan for the seas, invasive species tend to lack natural predators and completely take over and sometimes destroy entire ecosystems – like purple loosestrife in America. Or rabbits in Australia.
According to Haaretz, 18 scientists from 12 countries have signed a report “warning about the ecological consequences of the Egyptian government’s plan to expand the Suez Canal by building a new, larger and deeper waterway parallel to the present one.”
The problem will be more severe when the waters warm up as the species coming from the Indian Ocean will be better adapted to warmer waters giving them an advantage in taking over territory in the Mediterranean Sea, the scientists warn in the the journal Biological Invasions. One of the scientists was Prof. Bella S. Galil from the National Institute of Oceanography, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research in Haifa.
The planned expansion, they say, “is sure to have a diverse range of effects, at local and regional scales, on both the biological diversity and the ecosystem goods and services of the Mediterranean Sea.”
Image of the Suez Canal from Shutterstock