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We all already know about the damage caused by the worms to fish and humans, but there are many invaders that caused damage as well and I have not yet published information about them.

In the tornadoes in the Gulf port (photo: Motty Mendelsohn)
In the tornadoes in the Gulf port (photo: Motty Mendelsohn)
Trigon - like a ghost... a single individual rises from the group into the shallow waters - Gulf Harbor - Haifa (Photo: Motti Mendelson)
Trigon - like a ghost... a single individual rises from the group into the shallow waters - Gulf Harbor - Haifa (Photo: Motti Mendelson)

So if they are indeed under our noses, how do divers, swimmers, on a coastal island not notice them?

The answer is that they do notice intruders, but not all of them. You can see in the dives or on the beach invasive molluscs after storms - strands of leather, sea cucumbers and sea urchins. You can also see starfish while diving with tanks, freediving or snorkeling.

Venomous mustache - mature detail... photographed in the inner passage of the Gulf port in Haifa (photo: Motti Mendelson)
Venomous mustache - adult detail... photographed in the inner passage of the Gulf port in Haifa (photo: Motti Mendelsohn)

In marine nature as in terrestrial nature - where humans are not, nature thrives. For example: breakwaters, quiet anchorages, sunken ships and other large objects called in the language of fishermen "defects" because they are an obstacle to the fishing nets. The prosperity of the sea creatures on the breakwater of the Gulf Harbor is impressive.

A pair of diadems - sea urchin - an invasive species with long spines - Gulf Port - Haifa (Photo: Motti Mendelson)
A pair of diadems - sea urchin - an invasive species with long spines - Port of the Gulf - Haifa (photo: Motti Mendelson)

The bodies and the various sea creatures

Every foreign body in the sea attracts different sea creatures, that's why artificial reefs were invented - a wonderful method to enable life in the underwater world and to strengthen the fish.

Parana Oyster - Breakwater - Gulf Port - Haifa (Photo: Motti Mendelson)
Parana Oyster - Breakwater - Gulf Port - Haifa (Photo: Motti Mendelson)

We in Haifa have plenty of hiding places and that's where I usually find intruders who come to Israel through the ballast water of ships, sea anchorage on vessels or simply through the currents in the sea.

A few words about who took charge:
Merchant ships pump water into huge holding tanks, to balance them. The water that is pumped in China or the USA, or anywhere else in the world, is sometimes emptied in Haifa. This is how the tiny animals move from place to place and develop in the new place. This is how invasive species move quickly between different parts of the world.

Nocensit and a host of invaders close to the base of the breakwater of the Gulf Port - Haifa (Photo: Motti Mendelson)
Nocznit and a host of invaders close to the base of the breakwater of the Gulf Port - Haifa (Photo: Motti Mendelson)

Haifa has several breakwaters that are a fertile ground for marine creatures

Meridian, Bat Galim, the Port Breakers, the Navy Port and yes, of course... the Gulf Port known as the "Chinese Port".

A terminal sea worm - Port of the Gulf - Haifa (Photo: Motti Mendelson)
A terminal sea worm - Port of the Gulf - Haifa (Photo: Motti Mendelsohn)

"The Chinese Port"

Inside the "Chinese" port, in the deep points and in the batonades brought from Turkey, dozens of large diadem urchins, the golden fish of the generation, which also include young individuals, testifying to their culture in the port area, have found a home. Various nudities also found their place and were seen in various bands including guitarists.

The space between the concrete blocks of the Gulf port is a convenient hiding place for marine creatures (Photo: Motty Mendelsohn)
The space between the concrete blocks of the Gulf port is a convenient hiding place for marine creatures (Photo: Motty Mendelsohn)

In addition, various swellings (a type of Abu Nafha) were found both on the sandy bed of Haifa Bay and between the giant rocks that are placed on top of each other and form a network of underwater caves. In the huge breakwater, a real maze was created and a wonderful hiding place for invading creatures that ended up in the waters of Haifa Bay. It is difficult to believe what else is hidden in the recesses of these caves, which are very long and whose conditions are perfect - both biotic and abiotic conditions.

And what happens on top of the tuna - well, it's really a battleground between Mediterranean molluscs and final sea molluscs: for example, plates, bluegills, cracklings and final sea molluscs.

Shellfish - an invasive species of mollusc - Gulf Port - Haifa (Photo: Motti Mendelson)
Shellfish - an invasive species of mollusk - Port of the Gulf - Haifa (Photo: Motti Mendelsohn)

Different invaders also live in other breakwaters in Haifa or inside sunken ships

To compare what was in the past with what is today, you just have to dive in and see - the invasive species are many of the permanent residents, some of which simply disappeared from the underwater Haifa landscape.

A plate in its territory (photo: Motty Mendelsohn)

The native species are disappearing

The mullet fish, known as "Sultan Ibrahim" or Barbonia, have almost disappeared from Haifa's beaches, except for isolated clusters, which can be seen here and there in defined areas. Their place was replaced by a final sea invasive fish, named Bintan Forskel. Bintan multiplied in large numbers in front of the gas station "Maxim" and in Bat Galim on the sandy sediment.

According to planned surveillances that I conduct on a regular basis in Israel and in Bat Galim in particular, there are more invaders from the Red Sea than the locals - nature is dynamic and constantly changing.

Invasive algae (photo: Motty Mendelsohn)

Nature is constantly changing

When I dive on the beaches of Haifa, no day is the same as the other, even in the "change of shifts" between the creatures of the night and the creatures of the day. So, for example, on ships and breakwaters, during evening and night diving we see more diadems and harrones than during the day, due to the fact that they are lovers of darkness.

In conclusion - there are a large number of breakwaters in Israel that are very interesting to dive in, but you must pay attention to safety measures. There are sometimes strong currents and crashing waves in the vicinity of the wave bulls. Some of the rocks are covered with sharp debris that can cause injury, so these are dives intended for experienced divers only.

Plates on top of the concrete structure (photo: Motty Mendelson)

Contact Chai here: At watsapBy email

Motty Mendelssohn
Motty Mendelssohn
Marine researcher (diving, underwater photography) and marine and environmental ecology for 35 years. Lecturer in the field for about 20 years. You can order a lecture or a series of lectures accompanied by unique and spectacular photos, taken during many years of research, in Israel and abroad • 050-7271157 • [email protected]

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37 תגובות

  1. What spectacular pictures! I really enjoyed looking at the sea creatures I photographed in such good and great quality! Although the invaders can sometimes be harmful, they are certainly spectacular in their beauty. You are not biased :)

  2. Hello moshe
    At this rate you should really think about a glass boat.
    There are places in Israel that are infested with Eilat fish

  3. Hello Orit.
    Your question is spot on.
    Once the invaders arrive...the battle is lost.
    What remains to be done is simply to be careful.
    I personally report any invasive species and even assist the Institute for Information on Poisoning at the Rambam Hospital for over twenty years.

  4. Hello sparrow
    The intruders can come in any way, including the yachts inside the sea anchor in the ship's cove,
    Like fire ants in South American plants

  5. Hello Aviad
    I do not advise anyone to eat mussels, they filter out all the garbage from the sea.
    And if there was a sewage spill with coliforms nearby...then it will remain in the mussel meat.

  6. I hope that people will learn to preserve the local nature without destroying it, I hope that they will develop measures that will reduce the displacement of species by ships.
    Anyway, fascinating article (as always).

  7. Moti, thank you very much for the interesting information, you have a lot of knowledge and you are blessed that you work like me in what you love, see you at the beach

  8. A chapter within the dynamic ecology of nature, also human activity (building ants, sailing ships, etc.) is part of a system of migration of flora and fauna species, their settling, occupation of habitats of existing species, competition and suppression of existing species.

  9. Well done Motty for the information.
    I would be very happy if you would come to lecture at our room before retirees. Is it possible

  10. Interesting and waiting. It is interesting to learn about the comparison between the invasive species in the sea and those of the land. Both in animals and in plants. Thank you for the information

  11. Amazing, spectacular and interesting.
    The world in all its areas is dynamic, but what do we do with dangerous strains, which take over and crowd out good local strains, which lived in synergy until their appearance and takeover...?

  12. I have known Muti's stories since he worked at the port. Always interesting with crazy knowledge on the whole subject of the sea and the life in it and its surroundings. Good luck dear man

  13. How fun it is to re-read a very interesting article every time. It's a shame they didn't create a Haitz strip in Suez. Prevention of the invading creatures was definitely required.
    But these also exterminate each other, but it is not impossible that soon the animals endemic to our country will disappear more from the map and will be replaced by new varieties. The world is dynamic and we have the right to learn from life and your experience, thank you great Motti

  14. It doesn't seem to me that they brought tundas from Turkey... everything is made in Israel of course. Indeed, the newly built breakwaters were populated by the sea creatures in a very short time....especially the polynomial of the navy there, throwing nets is prevented, therefore there is a very large prosperity there... and diving is also prevented there and it is not as polluted as in the area in the Chinese port.

  15. Wow, a whole world under your nose. Can make it possible to take guided tours with a vessel with a transparent bottom. Like in Eilat

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