Teri Frady, NOAA
(508) 495-2239

Ellen Mecray, USGS
(508) 457-2213

Todd McLeish, URI
(508) 874-7892


September 12, 2005

NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center

N         E         W         S

Sea Squirts Are a Nuisance
on Georges Bank

Tunicate colony of Didemnum sp., with a typical lumpy surface, encrusting and cementing pebbles and a razor clam shell that form the seabed. Photo by Dann Blackwood, U.S. Geological Survey.

Woods Hole, MA -- Researchers have just completed a field survey of the invasive sea squirt colony on the Georges Bank, first discovered in 2003. A wider area was searched for the sea squirt this year, and it was mapped over about twice the area observed in 2004. Results show that the species is present in two adjacent areas totaling 88 square miles in U.S. waters near the U.S.-Canada boundary. The very large mat-like colonies observed in 2004 have been replaced by fewer smaller ones. The Georges Bank occurrence is the largest known infestation of colonial sea squirts in a major offshore fishing ground.

For the full release, click here.

For additional photos from the cruise, a chart showing locations mapped during the cruise, and more information the worldwide occurrence of this invasive species, visit the U.S. website on marine nuisance species here.

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