Rapid assessment sampling for target species is a fast cost-effective method aimed at determining the presence, abundance and distribution of alien and native harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens that may have been introduced by shipping. In this study, the method was applied within a large tropical port expected to have a high species diversity. The port of Kaohsiung was sampled for bivalve molluscan species that attach using a byssus. Such species, due to their biological traits, are spread by ships to ports worldwide. We estimated the abundance and distribution range of one dreissenid (Mytilopsis sallei) and four mytilids (Brachidontes variabilis, Arcuatula senhousa, Mytilus galloprovincialis, Perna viridis) known to be successful invaders and identified as potential pests, or high-risk harmful native or non-native species. We conclude that a rapid assessment of their abundance and distribution within a port, and its vicinity, is efficient and can provide sufficient information for decision making by port managers where IMO port exemptions may be sought.
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