MANAGE“For marine protected areas to function as conservation areas, it’s important that the biology and ecology be conserved to the highest level possible, and that now requires lionfish control.”– James Morris (2014) in Nature.
Managing Lionfish in Belize’s Marine Reserves
Lionfish are considered to be one of the greatest threats to Caribbean coral reefs and associated fisheries.
First recorded in Belize in 2008, lionfish have become well established across the country’s entire marine environment. Uncontrolled, invasive lionfish populations disrupt marine food webs, and cause losses to native fish and biodiversity.
Lionfish are here to stay. Eradicating lionfish is no longer considered possible, with control now being the only option.
Basic data on lionfish populations has been lacking from the majority of Belize’s marine reserves, making it impossible to effectively manage the invasion. In 2015, Blue Ventures, in collaboration with the National Lionfish Working Group conducted a census of lionfish and native fish populations in priority marine reserves. The results of this study can be found here.
Blue ventures is also working with national partners to develop ways to better study, manage and control the spread of the invasion.