[Coral-List] Exotic vs. Invasive - Lionfish control

OMMM Association ommm at wanadoo.fr
Wed Feb 20 16:00:02 EST 2013


The joint effort to control the lionfish population in the Caribbean is 
a priority in ecological terms.
As stated in several papers, the control by removing part of the local 
population in every infested site is a solution to minimize the impact 
of this fish on our local biodiversity.

When looking at the lionfish prey, it appears that a lot of these prey 
are not local target species for the small scale fisheries. That means 
that the impact concerns at first the global biodiversity of the reefs 
in the region and in the end a significant perturbation of the whole 
food web in coral reefs. Moreover, lionfish is not a strict piscivore 
and can feed on other taxa, like crustaceans and molluscs. So it is very 
encouraged at the scale of the Caribbean region to regulate local 
lionfish population by exterminating specimens from the environment. 
Everyone is aware that eradication is not possible, but scientists have 
been working on a regional strategy to limit the impact of the lionfish 
at the Caribbean scale.

Of course, local fishermen, who are aware that the coastal area is 
overfished, are concerned and worry about their fishing activity in this 
context of lionfish invasion. So it is our responsibility to propose a 
global strategy to reinforce and strengthen the fight against this fish, 
even if this is a "good looking" fish. People education and awareness 
are one priority and our mission is to explain why it is important to 
try to regulate this invasion, for the good health of our coral reefs, 
that already suffer from many other human impacts.

These efforts have been synthesized in the book mentioned by Lad Adkins 
and a regional strategy work plan will be soon published by the Regional 
Lionfish Committee, as a response to the invasion (which is no more an 
invasion now as lionfish have colonised every single place in the 

Best regards

Dr Jean-Philippe Maréchal
Marine Observatory of Martinique
14 rue Chéry-Rosette
97233 Schoelcher, Martinique, FWI
Tel: 0033 5 96 394 216

Visiting Senior Lecturer
School of Biological Sciences
University of Portsmouth - UK

GDRI "Coral reef biodiversity" - CNRS/EPHE
Assistant Director

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