Establishing partnerships for the Control of  Lionfish Population in the Eastern Caribbean region (2015-2017)

The invasive venomous Pterios volitans (Red Lionfish) is a well-established species in many parts of the Caribbean Sea and Western Atlantic Ocean. It currently poses as a serious threat to the existing reef fish biodiversity in the Ceribbean which can negatively impact the trophic dynamics by altering the structure of native fish communities. Thus the present study aimed to develop a suitability model for lionfish in Trinidad and Tobago, and conduct outreach activities on awareness and sustentability.

Physico-chemical, food availability and micro habitat structure in situ data, driving factors for lionfish population density, were considered as model inputs. GIS based multi-criteria decision technique was used to develop the lionfish habitat model considering the model inputs.

The awareness about the ecosystem impacts and how the society could contribute to a biological control of this invasive species was delivered successfully in three Caribbean countries. As a result, people are starting to look at the lionfish as a potential food source and many supermarkets have started to sell it stores. Also, the local fish markets are starting to move on toward the lionfish cleaning and sale, however lionfish should be tested for ciguatera and other food borne diseases on a regular basis, especially if the species is being promoted as a food fish. Such testing is to be integrated into the regular sanitary and phytosanitary measures monitoring programmes for fish and fish products in the respective countries as a standard measure.

Participating countries

– Grenada -Trinidad and Tobago -Venezuela