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Lionfish Control in Marine Protected Areas Successful: Joint Study

Published on: 09/13/2012
Region(s) of Study: Foreign Countries / Mexico

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 FederallyProtected 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 Peninsuladuring the summer of 2012. Preliminary results suggest that densities are lower inthe parks compared with surrounding reefs. Additionally, lionfish in the MPAs are smaller in size, suggesting thatcontrol efforts are not only reducing the number of lionfish but also reflect a limited ecological impact on thefish community.

This collaboration is a test of lionfish controlstrategies and supports the development of methods for evaluating their ecological impacts, which is important toMPA managers in the United States. The National Marine Fisheries Service Office of InternationalAffairs supported this project.

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