Climate change bringing rare lobster species to our coast

August 29th, 2019 5:10 PM

By Emma Connolly

The slipper lobster which was caught off Union Hall.

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A LOBSTER more commonly found in the Mediterranean has been caught off Union Hall in a further example of climate change. 

Local fisherman Chis Collins caught the slipper lobster in one of his pots off Rabbit Island and knew immediately it wasn’t a native species. 

He got in touch with Terri Kearney in the Skibbereen Heritage Centre and contact was made with rare species expert Kevin Flannery. 

Kevin, based in the Dingle Aquarium, confirmed it was a pregnant slipper lobster that had made its way up from southern waters off Turkey or Israel.

‘We’ve picked a few of them up over the past few years and it’s down to climate change and our warmer waters. The fact that she’s pregnant is unusual,’ he said. 

He said its presence was a ‘worrying trend’ as it wasn’t known how this species would interfere with our juvenile lobsters or shrimp. 

At a basic level it means more competition for food and given the slipper lobster had made it a fair distance, it shows it’s a survivor. 

The slipper lobster will stay in Dingle to see how she reacts with our species and a report will be compiled for the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford. 

However, this isn’t the only new arrival to West Cork waters. 

Only a few weeks ago a Macroom man caught a new fish species near Dunmanus. 

‘A man kayaking caught a red sea bream which would have originally come from France or Spain,’ said Kevin. 

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