The first sighting of this venomous beast in our waters was 2003, and the first response plan was written in 2009. Now is the time to reload our spear guns, tie our response to economic benefits, and build our capacity for dealing with and learning about the lionfish.
The Nature Conservancy, working with DPNR’s DFW and CZM as well as dive operators, dive clubs, the public, and fishermen, have drafted an updated Lionfish Response Program draft for the territory. The draft covers Major Findings like the prevalence of ciguatoxin and estimated population data, Priority Strategies like coordination and communication between key players, and Marketing Strategies to increase public take of the lionfish.
The goal of the Lionfish Response Program is not eradication but the prevention of a negative impact on local fisheries and marine ecosystems and endangering public safety. Several objectives include control through removal, continued research and analysis, increased demand for lionfish products through marketing, awareness by the community through education and outreach, and improved communication.
Did you provide your input last October? Would you like to provide input now? Please read through the draft plan and send along your ideas for edits and Steering Committee members through The Reef Resilience Program website.