Marine invasive species are species that are not historically known to occur in a certain area but have been introduced by humans at some point in time, rather than by natural means. These animals, plants, and algae—like the European green crab (Carcinus maenas) and green fleece (Codium fragile)—have forever changed the ecology and economy of Massachusetts. To promote understanding, effective monitoring, and management of these species, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Marine Invasive Species Program has developed the following publications. (Note: Any views or opinions presented in publications prepared for CZM are solely those of the author[s] and do not necessarily represent those of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please see our website policies.) See CZM Publications for the full list of materials published by CZM.

General Information on Marine Invasive Species

  • Marine Invasive Species - State of the Gulf of Maine Report- This paper, written by CZM and published by the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment, provides a review of established marine invasive species in the Gulf of Maine and describes impacts, vectors, emerging threats, and management responses.
  • Defending Massachusetts Against Biological Invaders - This article on page 33 of the Summer 2002 Coastlines pdf format of Coastlines 2002 - Hurricanes
file size 4MB provides an overview of the marine aquatic species issue.


  • Massachusetts Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan - This plan, released in 2002, outlines a five-year strategy to manage threats from aquatic invaders. Major components of the plan include a description of existing state and federal authorities and programs, a focus on the impacts of invasive species and management priorities, management objectives and actions, and an implementation timeline.
  • Managing Seaweed Accumulations on Recreational Beaches pdf format of Seaweed Management Guidance
file size 2MB - This guidance published by CZM in 2013 was developed to help local officials and beach managers effectively address seaweed accumulations on recreational beaches while protecting coastal resources. It focuses on how seaweed is a natural and important part of the marine ecosystem, but when accumulations occur on recreational beaches, conflicts can arise that need to be addressed.


  • Identification Cards - To help detect and monitor marine invasive species, CZM funded the development of 23 species identification cards for marine invaders in the Gulf of Maine. These cards were created by Salem Sound Coastwatch.
  • Non-Native Seaweed in Massachusetts pdf format of non-native-seaweed-fact-sheet.pdf
file size 1MB - Published by CZM in 2013, this fact sheet summarizes information on invasive seaweed species in Massachusetts, their ecology, and potential impacts to the marine ecosystem and economy.


  • Monitoring for Marine Invasive Species: Guidance and Protocols for Volunteer Monitoring Groups - This is the primary guidance document for CZM’s Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC), a network of community groups and citizens that use a standard monitoring protocol to survey for marine invasive species. The document includes information on site selection, monitoring protocols, safety, and identification resources and is available online, as well as in a printer-friendly PDF version. Datasheets for collecting monitoring information are also available.
  • The Volunteer Monitor: Invasive Species - The Spring 2009 edition of this newsletter is focused on aquatic invasive species, including CZM’s efforts to monitor for marine invasive species (page 17).

Rapid Assessment Surveys


  • Codium Up, Eelgrass Down: Invasives Impact Buzzards Bay - This article on page 59 of the 2007 Coastlines pdf format of Coastlines 2007
file size 38MB discusses the impact of the invasive Codium alga on eelgrass habitat.


Contact Information

For questions about the CZM Marine Invasive Species Program, contact: