The invasion and proliferation of the two lionfish species Pterois volitans and Pterois miles threatens biodiversity in the Wider Caribbean Region. These alien carnivores pose a serious threat to native coral reef-associated marine life, and contribute to the decline of many commercially and ecologically important species.
In addition, the invasive lionfish population could have a significant negative impact on economically important activities such as fisheries and tourism. Both industries are impaired by the loss of biodiversity, as it ultimately reduces fisheries catch and the desirability of diving sites. Furthermore, the lionfish’s venomous spines are a safety risk to both fishermen and recreational divers.
In 2010, a strategic plan for the control of lionfish in the Wider Caribbean was developed in recognition of the severity of the lionfish invasion, its impact on coral reefs and effect on the local population. The plan provides a framework to address the invasion with a concerted approach across political and geographical boundaries. To minimize the negative impacts of lionfish, cooperation is promoted among governments, reef-reliant industries, civil society and academia. A transboundary research and monitoring agenda coupled with local action plans, information campaigns and the adaptation of policy guidelines ensure that the lionfish issue is dealt with in the most effective manner.