ICRI Ad-Hoc Committee on Caribbean Regional Response to Lionfish Invasion
Lionfishes are venomous species of scorpionfishes which are native to IndoPacific and oceanic coral reef ecosystems and adjacent habitats. Because of their colorful and dramatic appearance, they are prized by aquarists around the world. Through accidental and purposeful release into warm Atlantic waters, they have become established as voracious alien species that pose a serious threat to coral reefs in Bermuda, the American tropics of Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean islands, Central America, and northern South America.
The ICRI Ad Hoc Committee
In January 2010 during the 24th general assembly of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the Secretariat agreed to set up an Ad Hoc Committee to develop a strategic plan for the control of lionfish in the Wider Caribbean. The control of this invasive species is supported on Article 8 In-situ conservation subdivision "h" of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in which "prevents the introduction, control and eradication of those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitat or species”, as well as in Article 12 of the regional treaty “Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Protocol” of the Cartagena Convention. This committee has since been formed and organized a regional workshop with a view to develop a strategy for the prevention, control and management of Lionfish (Pterois sp.) in the Wider Caribbean. The Committee is co-chaired by Mexico, United States of America and the SPAW- RAC. The first terms of reference for the Committee were adopted during the 25th ICRI General Meeting (PDF File) and revised at the 26th General Meeting (PDF File).
Report of the Ad Hoc Committee to the ICRI General Meeting
Below some outcomes of the Committee:
Invasive Lionfish: A Guide to Control and Management(ENGLISH) Invasive Lionfish: A Guide to Control and Management provides best practices for lionfish control and management, including control strategies, outreach and education, research, monitoring, legal considerations, and ideas for securing resources and partnerships. By following these best practices, resource managers can reduce the local impacts of invasive lionfish in marine protected areas and other places of ecological and economic importance.
(ESPANOL) El pez león invasor: guía para su control y manejo ofrece un conjunto de prácticas idóneas para su control y manejo, entre otras, estrategias de regulación, difusión y educación, investigación, monitoreo, aspectos jurídicos e ideas para conseguir recursos y lanzar iniciativas conjuntas. Al aplicar estas prácticas idóneas los administradores de recursos marinos podrán reducir en su localidad los efectos de la invasión del pez león sobre las áreas marinas protegidas y otras zonas de importancia ecológica y económica.
This project would not have been possible without the support of NOAA, REEF, ICRI, United Nations Environment Programme, Caribbean Environment Programme, SPAW-RAC, and the over 40 participants of the 2010 Caribbean Regional Lionfish Workshop.
ICRI Advisory statement
Poster on the Caribbean response to Lionfish invasion
The ICRI Secretariat has worked with its Regional Lionfish Committee (one of ICRI's so called 'Ad Hoc Committees) to submit a poster and abstract to the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) for release at the 16th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-16) being held in Montreal, Canada on 30 April - 5 May 2012. Dowload the poster.
Organization of regional workshops
- Puerto Rico Meeting (3-6 September 2012)
Key participants from all over the Caribbean met to plan to write up of a Regional Lionfish Control Strategy. The workshop was organized by ICRI’s Regional Lionfish Committee (RLC). The Strategy is now under development and will be promoted in relevant international fora. More information.
- Inception regional workshop
The workshop hosted approximately 40 participants. Participants from seventeen countries and territories gave presentations on the status of lionfish across the Caribbean region and shared stories on successes, challenges, and needs for responding to this highly invasive species. The participants engaged in roundtable discussions to identify and refine best practices for responding more effectively to lionfish in the Caribbean. Sessions were organized under the following themes: education and outreach, control strategies, policies and regulations, partnerships, research priorities, and resource needs. Concluding discussions focused on the need for continued collaboration on lionfish issues and follow-up activities, including developing a best practices manual for distribution across the Caribbean, establishing a body of lionfish experts to serve as a regional task force; and establishing a central clearing house to share information on lionfish control strategies.
- SPAW-RAC’s website
- Lionfish Research Program (REEF)
- Information on Lionfish (USGS)
- Invasive Lionfish (Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research)
- CAB International
- Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) and Lionfish
- The IndoPacific Lionfish Invasion (NOAA CoRIS)
- Lionfish population control in the French West Indies