The Niger Hind (Cephalopholis nigri) is a new alien fish species for the Mediterranean discovered by the University of Malta’s Conservation Biology Research Group.

The discovery was reported in a paper published in the UK scientific peer-reviewed journal Marine Biodiversity Records, authored by Adriana Vella together with Noel Vella and Sandra Agius Darmanin.

The research group, led by Adriana Vella, has been actively working directly with fishermen, among others, as part of a long-term conservation oriented research effort to monitor and understand the changes of local species and their marine environment. The various other maritime entities assisting in this research include the Armed Forces of Malta, Transport Malta, scuba divers and the NGO Bicref.

The scientific members of the research team are active in field and laboratory research as they investigate queries regarding unusual creatures or occurrences out at sea reported to them. They use research tools to identify and understand the conservation status of local species and to find out more about the changing biodiversity in Maltese waters.

There is a serious concern that the increasing number of new alien species may fast change communities of marine life in local waters. This needs to be dealt with responsibly by focusing on local species at the centre of the knowledge-gaining efforts.

The conservation research group welcomes any reports or queries from fishermen, scuba-divers, swimmers and sailors that may assist their conservation work.

Ms Vella may be contacted on or 9942 9592.

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