A moving target: Achieving good environmental status and social justice in the case of an alien species, Rapa whelk in the Black Sea

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Demirel N. , Ulman A., Yildiz T. , Ertor-Akyazi P.

MARINE POLICY, vol.132, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 132
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.marpol.2021.104687
  • Title of Journal : MARINE POLICY
  • Keywords: Invasive species, Ecosystem impact, Marine strategy framework directive, Fisheries, Governance, VENOSA VALENCIENNES, MANAGEMENT, PREDATION, FISHERIES, SERVICES, RATES, COAST


The invasive Rapa whelk, Rapana venosa in the Black Sea presents a complex governance problem posing a diverse set of positive and negative impacts on marine ecosystems as well as on coastal communities. While some marine scientists perceive the Rapa whelk as a fishery to be sustainably managed, others are more concerned about the threats it poses to biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. Fishers themselves are divided regarding the dominant fishing method used to harvest, namely, dredging, which damages benthic habitats and negatively impacts already over-exploited commercial fish stocks of the Black Sea. Dredging is also the main impediment to achieving Good Environmental Status based on the Marine Strategy Framework Directive of the European Union. While the economic profits of its fisheries are predominantly prioritized by Black Sea countries, social justice aspects of its fisheries in terms of providing livelihoods to marginalized coastal communities should not be overlooked. The presence of a diverse set of stakeholders with differential views and needs makes it integral to utilize integrated participatory approaches in the governance of its fisheries in the Black Sea, such as ecosystembased management and co-management. Establishing and maintaining social justice while adhering to the EU's Good Environmental Status principles is a moving target that policy makers, marine scientists and other relevant stakeholders should opt for in managing the complex governance issues that invasive species such as Rapana venosa pose.