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Lionfish Control and Management

The Issue

Control and management of the lionfish invasion is needed to understand and mitigate the impacts of this unprecedented marine invasion. In less than a decade, the Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans) has become widely established along the Southeast U.S. and Caribbean. Lionfish are presently invading the Gulf of Mexico and South America. Recent estimates of lionfish abundance indicate that lionfish have surpassed some native species with the highest estimates reporting over 1,000 lionfish per acre in some locations.

Lionfish are capable of permanently impacting native reef fish communities across multiple trophic levels. Furthermore, lionfish occupy the same trophic position as economically important species (e.g., snapper and grouper) and may hamper stock rebuilding efforts and coral reef conservation measures.

Research Focus

  • Development of local lionfish control programs
  • Determine lionfish population control mechanisms in native range and assess if adaptable to invaded range.
  • Assess and develop safe lionfish harvesting strategies for seafood markets.
  • Initiate lionfish removal programs for protected areas.
  • Assist in the development of regional lionfish control plans for the Southeast U.S., Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean.


Lionfish Harvesting Considerations

Lionfish Videos on Ocean Today Kiosk

Lionfish Harvesting Media Coverage

Return to the Invasive Lionfish page.