The International Coral Reef Initiative is supporting fruitful collaboration between Mexico and Costa Rica to respond to the lionfish invasion, which is seriously impacting commercially important species such as lobsters in Cahuita and Manzanillo in the south of Costa Rica.
Dr Ricardo Gomez Lozano from the Mexican Commission on Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), co-chair of ICRI’s Regional Lionfish Committee, is working with Costa Rica this week, with funding provided by the ICRI Secretariat, to help develop a national plan of action to control the lionfish invasion.
An expert workshop is being held on Wednesday to kick-start the National Strategy for the Control of invasive lionfish in Costa Rica.
“We don’t pretend to eradicate the lionfish altogether, as this is no longer possible from an economic and environmental perspective. What we will do with this national strategy is regain control of our reef ecosystems by restoring a balance” said Costa Rica’s Environment Minister René Castro.
Costa Rican fishermen working in these areas have reported an 80 to 87% decrease in their lobster, shrimp and crab catch due to the presence of lionfish.
“The national strategy will help identify concrete actions to mitigate the lionfish problem in the country” said Gómez. “It is important that the community participates to control the invasion and understand what is at stake”.
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Credit Photograph: Matthew D Potenski 2011/Marine Photobank