Using online questionnaires to assess marine bio-invasions: A demonstration with recreational fishers and the Atlantic blue crab Callinectes sapidus (Rathbun, 1986) along three Mediterranean countries

Mar Pollut Bull. 2020 Jul:156:111209. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111209. Epub 2020 May 11.


Marine bioinvasions require integrating monitoring tools with other complementary strategies. In this study, we collected information about the invasive alien crab Callinectes sapidus in Italy, Croatia and Montenegro, by means of online questionnaires administered to recreational fishers (n = 797). Our records matched the current distribution of the species: C. sapidus resulted far more common in the Adriatic/Ionian than in the Tyrrhenian/Ligurian sector. Most respondents rated the species as 'occasional' or 'rare'. Moreover, the more C. sapidus was considered to be abundant, the more fishers tended to perceive it as a negative disturbance over fisheries and the environment. Our findings suggest that C. sapidus is more common than previously thought in most of the study area, and it could have reached the levels of a true invasions in the south-eastern Adriatic Sea. This experience demonstrates that online questionnaires can be appropriate tools to effectively engage stakeholders in alien species monitoring.

Keywords: Atlantic blue crab; Callinectes sapidus; Local ecological knowledge; Monitoring invasive species; Online questionnaires; Recreational fishery.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brachyura*
  • Croatia
  • Italy
  • Montenegro
  • Surveys and Questionnaires