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Lionfish Control in Marine Protected Areas Successful: Joint Study

Lionfish removal efforts in some Mexican protected marine areas are controlling local populations, according to a collaborative study by NOAA and Mexico’s National Commission of Federally Protected Areas (known by its Spanish acronym CONANP, for Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas). The two groups monitored lionfish inside two MPAs along the Yucatán Peninsula during the summer of 2012. Preliminary results suggest that densities are lower in the parks compared with surrounding reefs. Additionally, lionfish in the MPAs are smaller in size, suggesting that control efforts are not only reducing the number of lionfish but also reflect a limited ecological impact on the fish community.

This collaboration is a test of lionfish control strategies and supports the development of methods for evaluating their ecological impacts, which is important to MPA managers in the United States. The National Marine Fisheries Service Office of International Affairs supported this project.

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