Lionfish

 

The invasion of lionfish (Pterois miles and Pterois volitans) in the Caribbean ocean has recently been recognized as one of the world’s top marine conservation issues and may well prove to be one of the greatest threats of this century to warm temperate and tropical Atlantic reefs and associated habitats. JNCC has collaborated with the Caribbean Overseas Territories on a number of initiatives aimed at addressing the lionfish problem.

 

Read our Lionfish Blog here>> 

 

'An Ecological Analysis of the Lionfish Invasion in Anguilla' - new report available here

 

Anguilla workshop

A detailed report is available here>>>, and news article available here>>

In February 2013 JNCC co-ordinated a workshop entitled  Identifying a Lionfish Response Strategy for the UK Overseas Territories of the Wider Caribbean Region held in Anguilla.

The ultimate goal of this workshop was to prioritise short-term actions for a more effective control of lionfish populations in the Wider Caribbean UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) and initiate the mechanism for their implementation.

 

Key messages from the UKOTs were:

  • focus on short-term immediate actions implementing the top research priorities in order to maximise control measures.
  • investigate the potential impact lionfish proliferation will have on the tourism industry and the fishing industry.
  • funding is lacking for training staff, equipment, boat time, compiling and analysis of data, enabling the implementation of prioritised short-term research projects for improving effectiveness of control measures in the long-term.

 

Cayman Workshop

A detailed report is available here>>>

In July 2013, a second follow up workshop was held in the Cayman Islands.  This was a technical workshop that focussed on tools to implement research priorities and control measures for Lionfish. The overall objectives were:

 

  • Sharing preliminary results of the ‘Economic assessment of lionfish impact on the Tourism Industry: Cayman Islands’, to serve as a pilot for similar work in other UKOTs.
  • Adapting ongoing methodologies and techniques to all UKOTs for ecological and economic surveys
  • Developing a framework for assessing the economic impact of lionfish on fisheries, and namely on recruitment of commercially targeted species of the Caribbean Region.
  • Ensuring the use of standard well-tested protocols for sound assessments across the Territories; focus was on i) the gathering of information on lionfish populations and associated prey species, and ii) determining the impacts of lionfish on the visiting experience of tourists, and on the associated business sector (restaurants, fishermen).

 

Key messages from the UKOTs were:

  • given the various factors involved in addressing the growing lionfish population in the Caribbean UKOTs, governments of the Territories would welcome assistance and guidance in incorporating changes in activities into existing legislation for Fisheries and Marine Protected Areas.
  • Support from DEFRA on the incorporation of lionfish population management within MPAs, and subsequent necessary modifications to MPA policies, and enforcement. Similarly, support from DEFRA on updating Fisheries Regulations in relation to the lionfish invasion stage in the Territories.

 

Other JNCC work on Lionfish

JNCC has also supported a number of lionfish initiatives in the Caribbean UKOTs. These include a public awareness and lionfish survey in Anguilla (2010); Lionfish control projects in the British Virgin Islands (2010)  the Cayman Islands (2010) and the Turks and Caicos Islands (2010) - all reports on these projects are available on the individual territory pages.

 

 

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