Friday, 30 September 2016

Britain's coastline on ALERT for 'alien-like' sea creature threatening to cause CHAOS

AN ABOMINABLE sea creature that looks like something from outer space is threatening to cause chaos on British coastlines
Tunicate colony of Didemnum vexillum overgrowing gravel.JPG

By Stuart Winter
PUBLISHED: 00:01, Wed, Sep 28, 2016 | UPDATED: 14:52, Wed, Sep 28, 2016

The insidious carpet sea squirt looks like something out of a 1950s horror movie and is now battling to get a stranglehold around our shores.

Not only does the creepy, leathery creature wipe out native wildlife it also threatens the UK's valuable shellfish industry.

To alert the public, the GB Non-native Species Secretariat - the official watchdog guarding the country from potentially dangerous plants and animals - has put the carpet sea squirt on its high alert list.

Underwater footage shot in Herne Bay, Kent, during the summer shows the dreadful impact of the sea-squirt - scientific name Didemnum vexillum - as it takes over the seabed with its creamy yellow lobes.

It was aired by the Marine Biological Association after being shot by diver Debbie Phillips and warns: "...The footage shows an extensive population of the sea squirt, in places covering over 50 per cent of the sea bed.

"Didemnum vexillum was first found in the UK in 2008 and was first reported on the shore in north Kent in 2011, but an extensive sub-tidal occurrence on the open sea bed is a worrying further step in the colonisation of UK waters by this invasive species."

The harmful effects of carpet sea-squirt have already been suffered around the world since the filter feeding invertebrate began forming colonies at a rate of knots.

Believed to have originated in Japan, the sea squirt has gone on to carpet seabeds in the Netherlands, Georges Bank off Massachusetts and New Zealand.

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