Pollution and global warming effects are not always clearly seen. Its environmental impacts are seen through changes in plant and animal life. In Lebanon, it has led to strange fish in Lebanese waters.
Fish fleeing from global warming have found their ways into our waters. These climate migrants, from the Indian Ocean, are a little plump, 10 cm, yellow striped fish.
What is interesting is that some fish travel in ballast waters. Ballast waters are used by ships to provide balance.
According to international laws, these ballasts must be filtered, treated, and then released in high seas.
Most ships do not do so, thus carry them along to ports where the water is released, making the ports a nursery for all new kinds of species.
Our fishermen in the Okaibe coast have no name for them and suggested calling them Revolution Fish (samket thawra)!
They are surprised by these new fish; none of them all over Lebanon has a single idea what these fish are. Some toss them back into the sea because most people do not buy fish they are not used to.
Climate change has led to an increase in fish species that were once rare in Lebanon. Earlier this year, Lebanon witnessed a Lionfish invasion. Marine biologists believe that this is due to the expansion and deepening of the Suez Canal and, of course, Global Warming.
These new predators threaten the coral reefs and fish stock since most do not have natural predators in the Mediterranean. These new fish mean only one thing to fishermen: An income drop.
The new fish will be sold for cheap prices; if they get sold at all. One Kg of Lionfish today is sold for 6000 LBP, but most fishermen avoid touching it as its wing-like fins and spines are venomous and many were hospitalized for touching it.
The best way to deal with such new invasions is to spread awareness about it. Fishermen and the community should be educated about these new types. How to handle and cook them may be a way to boost their sales in Lebanon.
In addition, there should also be a way to protect marine life by setting up more marine protected areas.