- Native to – Japan, Korea, and China.
- Invaded – New Zealand, Europe, Great Britain, and the US.
- Means of Invasion – Ballast water tanks of ships.
- Impact – Disruption to ecosystems through intense fouling, creating serious issues for fish farms.
Asian Kelp, an edible seaweed native to the cold water coastal areas of Japan, Korea and China has found itself an invasive species to the waters of New Zealand, Europe, Great Britain and the US. This has likely been through the means of hitching a ride on other aquaculture species and being transferred in the ballast water tanks of ships.
Asian Kelp proves to be beneficial in many waters, providing a food source for both humans and other marine species, however in waters where native seaweed is absent, the Asian Kelp can drastically change the structure of ecosystems. The intense rate of reproductivity causuing consistent spreading has created worrisome fouling problems for marine farms. Fouling on the farming cages can restrict water flow which in turn results in a slow growth of the caught marine crustaceans, increasing harvesting and labour costs for the fish farmers. Fouling can also clog farming machinery and boats which becomes an expensive and serious issue.
The control of this invader is predominately relying on ballast water management systems to halt the continuous spreading.