Introduction of alien species constitutes worldwide one of the major threats to biodiversity, particularly in freshwater ecosystems. In France, the number of alien aquatic plant and animal species has increased exponentially over time in freshwater ecosystems and shows no sign of decreasing. For fish only, more than 40 alien species have been either voluntary or involuntary introduced in the past decades. About two-thirds are still present today and at least 26 are naturalized. As in many European countries, the fish introduction history in France switched from voluntary introduction in the nineteenth century (aquaculture, sport fishing, and management of ecosystems) to unintentional but human-aided introductions (aquarium trade and global ship transport). The negative impacts of alien species on native species and ecosystems are most often unknown in France and needs further studies to develop a functional policy on alien species introductions and the protection of aquatic ecosystems integrity. The information gathered allow discussing the possible reasons explaining whether an alien species is able or not to establish sustainable populations in France and thereafter became invasive, such as gobies recently arrived.
Part of the book: Biological Resources of Water