Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef

by Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund)
Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef
Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef
Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef
Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef
Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef
Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef
Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef
Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef
Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef
Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef
Invitation shared through all our platforms
Invitation shared through all our platforms

Sharing information, experiences and lessons learned is very important if we want our partners to make informed decisions. With this in mind, the Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund) is implementing a Webinar Series where partners are invited to present results, lessons learnt, experiences and share information regarding projects they have developed with our support.

Key actors and partners from the region and beyond are invited to participate and a Q & A space is open to share thoughts, ideas, and create alliances between the participants that will help replicate initiatives.

The first webinar, with the participation of 38 people from different organizations, was carried out on August 18, 2022 and the goal was to share Blue Ventures (BV) tool for lionfish control, piloted at key protected areas in Belize, with the potential for replication across the MAR. The topics discussed were:

  • Background on lionfish native and none-native range
  • Characteristics of a successful invader
  • Ecological impacts
  • Consequences for endemic species
  • Belize National Lionfish Management Strategy and Working Group (2019-2023)
  • Establishing effective lionfish management in Belize’s fish replenishment zones
  • Training and capacity building
  • Update lionfish population status (assessment) in Belize protected areas
  • Adaptive management
  • Lessons learned

The work done by BV in Belize has been possible thanks to your support and for believing in our work. Thank you for supporting us to hunt this predator.

We will keep you posted on any other lionfish topic presented in MAR Fund’s Webinar Series.

The MAR Fund Team.

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Support continues in Belize through the Belize Marine Fund, a program within MAR Fund, Blue Ventures Conservation, an organization with almost ten years’ experience of working in the region on lionfish management activities, presented a project called “Building capacity for effective lionfish management in Belize’s fish replenishment zones”. The project will be implemented following the Belize’s National Lionfish Management Strategy (NLMS), supported previously, by strengthening capacity for lionfish control and monitoring in MPA fish replenishment zones.

This project aims to develop effective and collaborative lionfish control in South Water Caye Marine Reserve (SWCMR), using the training model developed for Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA) and currently being replicated with the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD) in the Northern Belize Coastal Complex. The primary beneficiary of the project will be the Wabafu Fishermen Association ('Wabafu'), established in 2015 to enable fishers from Dangriga to manage their natural resources.

Wabafu and a new community-based lionfish brigade at SWCMR will receive training and support to undertake lionfish control and monitoring. Detailed surveys of lionfish and prey fish populations will inform site prioritization and lionfish control targets, helping to improve management effectiveness and reduce the threat of lionfish to reef fish populations and local livelihoods.

The objectives of this project are:

  • To establish a ten-person community-based lionfish brigade for South Water Caye Marine Reserve (SWCMR) that is trained in scientific scuba diving and safe removal and handling of lionfish.
  • To collect updated monitoring information on lionfish populations and associated native fish community status in SWCMR, using the Lionfish Focused Search method.
  • To prioritize sites and establish quantitative targets for lionfish control in SWCMR by reviewing data collected in 2022 and with the involvement of SWCMR stakeholder groups.

This project addresses the need for improved management of invasive lionfish in Belize’s fish replenishment zones, with a focus on SWCMR, since the lionfish are decimating populations of native coral reef fish and invertebrates, reducing the reef’s resilience and threatening the livelihoods of the people who rely on it. All lessons learned from this experience, will be shared with the national Lionfish Working Group (LWG) to catalyze participatory planning, monitoring and control efforts in prioritized conservation areas across Belize.

All funding provided has been able thanks to your support and engagement with our projects.

We appreciate your trust in us.

We´ll keep you posted on how this project is developed.

The MAR Fund Team.

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We find ourselves once again in the Gulf of Mexico. With the support provided to Amigos de Sian Ka’an they have been able to continue the work they began in 2018. They had begun working with the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature A.C. (FMCN in Spanish), the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP in Spanish) to develop the National Action Plan for the control of lionfish in Mexico and the Local Committee for its control in the Yucatan Peninsula and the Mexican Caribbean. However, the efforts did not yield the creation of these planning and operating instruments.

With your support, we have been able to provide funds to Amigos de Sian Ka’an. Up to date, they have been able to develop the first workshop with the aim of collecting feedback, from the natural protected areas of the Coastal Plain and Gulf of Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula and the Mexican Caribbean, in regards to the updating and conclusion of the National Plan and the Local Committee for the control of lionfish. They presented the work that has been done so far since 2009 and the actions taken to be able to finalize the National Action Plan. This workshop will enable the socialization of the plan with key actors.

These continued efforts are contributing to the fulfillment of the objectives established in the Regional Strategy for the Control of Lionfish in the MAR, and it has been possible thanks to your help.

We appreciate your trust in us.

We´ll keep you posted on how things developed and further results achieved through this project.

Thank you

The MAR Fund Team.

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photo by Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association
photo by Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association

Blue Ventures Conservation, an organization with almost ten years’ experience of working in the region on lionfish management activities, presented the project called “Establishing effective lionfish management in Belize’s fish replenishment zones”. As mentioned before this project aims to manage the invasive lionfish population in Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, with support from the area manager Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA), through the development of effective and collaborative lionfish control methods, providing a model that can be used in Belize’s other MPAs, as well as across the invaded range.

Even though the pandemic is still affecting, they were able to develop important activities. From March to September, two Lionfish Working Group (LWG) meetings took place in April and August, which covered review and discussion of recommendations for lionfish control in fish replenishment zones, updates on lionfish control within Turneffe and the Northern Belize Coastal Complex.

Conversations continue with the Belize Fisheries Department (BFD) in regards to the white paper which contains the recommendations for lionfish control in fish replenishment zones in Belize. Another important topic discussed was the restarting of lionfish processing at the National Fishermen’s Cooperative (NFC). The US-based startup Olacoral, co-founded by a young Belizean entrepreneur, recently signed a contract with the NFC to process and purchase lionfish and joined the LWG. Since doing so, 2,759 pounds of whole gutted lionfish has been landed and processed at the NFC.

Blue Ventures supported TASA to develop a lionfish control plan, which was launched in May. TASA implemented the lionfish control plan, at Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve (TAMR), in June, July and August and undertook a review of the plan with Blue Ventures in August. Through the control diving developed by TASA a total of 131 lionfish were removed.

The continued support to control this deadly species, has been able thanks to your help.

You are part of our team and we appreciate your help.

Thank you

The MAR Fund Team

photo by Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association
photo by Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association
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Moving north in the Mesoamerican Reef we find ourselves in the Gulf of Mexico. Derived from the presence of lionfish in the Gulf and the Caribbean Sea, and its abundant distribution in protected natural areas in Mexico, since 2009 actions have been implemented to control this invasive species.

Following the creation of the Regional Strategy for the Control of Lionfish in MAR (2014), in 2018, important efforts were made by the Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund) through the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature AC, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP in Spanish) and Amigos de Sian Ka'an to develop the National Action Plan for the control of lionfish in Mexico and the Local Committee for its control in the Yucatan Peninsula and the Mexican Caribbean. However, due to various reasons it was not possible to develop these planning and operating instruments.

Support will be provided to Amigos de Sian Ka’an to continue the work that began in 2018. The objectives of this project are:

  • To consolidate the National Action Plan for the control of lionfish in Mexico.
  • Establishment of the Local Committee for the control or lionfish in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexican Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

This effort will contribute to the fulfillment of the objectives established in the Regional Strategy for the Control of Lionfish in MAR, which in turn will strengthen Mexico's work on invasive species and the recovery and conservation of coral reefs.

The continued support in the region to control this invasive species, has been able thanks to your help.

We appreciate your trust in us.

We´ll keep you posted on how things developed and results achieved through this project.

Thank you

The MAR Fund Team.

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Organization Information

Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund)

Location: Guatemala - Guatemala
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @MAR_Fund
Project Leader:
Maria Jose Gonzalez
Executive Director
Guatemala, Guatemala
$17,782 raised of $95,000 goal
 
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