The first management of a marine invader in Africa: the importance of trials prior to setting long-term management goals
Le Roux, J.J.
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Biological invasions severely impact on marine ecosystems around the world, but to date management is rare and has not previously been attempted in Africa. This study documents a trial management programme aimed at informing a national management strategy for the invasive European shore crab, Carcinus maenas, in South Africa. The approach involved testing control methods used elsewhere (baited traps, crab condos, diver collections and sediment dredging) and adapting these to the local context. Following these trials, baited traps were deployed over the course of the year, and the catch per unit effort (CPUE) tracked. A total of 36,244 crabs were collected during the management period, six times more than a pre-management population estimate. The population was not extirpated and CPUE increased once trapping ceased. The cost of attempting nationwide eradication is prohibitive, particularly given the lack of current impacts by this crab in this region and the possibility of reintroduction. We highlight key administrative challenges encountered, and the importance of such pilot trials in setting long-term goals when attempting alien species management interventions.