Control of Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef

by Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund)

Since the workshop developed for the Control of Lionfish Regional Strategy on May last year, a National Committee was established for each country.  The objective of these committees was to promote and to push, at a national level, the activities that were identified during the workshop.  Each of the Committees appointed a representative to lead them.

During the second half of this year, it is MAR Fund's intention to work and strengthen the Committees to start with the design of the National Strategies based on the lines of action defined in the Regional one.

MAR Fund will contact each of the representatives of each National Committee to plan a short-term action plan.  The idea is to present the regional progresses accomplished this year during the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) annual meeting that will be held in November this year in Panama.

We will definetly kee you posted.

Thanks again for all your support.

On January 29, 2015, MAR Fund's Grants Review Committee got together to evaluate, discuss and recomend for support the proposals that were submitted during the Seventh Request for Proposals.

One of the proposals submitted by Belize came from the Fisheries Department and it was address to develop the lionfish National Exploitation Strategy.

We are glad to inform that the proposal entitled 'A practical approach to long-term lionfish control: developing Belize’s national lionfish exploitation strategy' was recommended for support.  The Committee made clear recomendations to the proposal and the Fisheries Department accepted them.

We expect to sign the grant agreement at the end of March so they can start activities in April.

Supporting initiatives like this is the way to control this invasive species.

We will keep you posted on what actions are taken by this national strategy in Belize.

The Belize Fisheries Department is looking for funds to develop their national lionfish exploitation strategy.  A proposal to work in South Water Caye and Port Honduras Marine Reserves was submitted to MAR Fund, but this forms part of a larger project that takes place across the Belize Barrier Reef System.

As outlined in the Mesoamerican Reef Lionfish Strategy design, lionfish control must be addressed differently in areas accessible to fishers, No Take Zones and the deep sea. The proposal focuses on lionfish control in areas accessible to fishers and provides recommendations for management within No Take Zones. The primary output of this proposal is providing a framework for development of a ‘lionfishery’ that optimizes social, environmental and economic dynamics. It also provides site-specific targets for lionfish control within South Water Caye and Port Honduras Marine Reserves.

Even though it sounds ambotious, their goal is that, by December 2015 a ten-year lionfish exploitation strategy for Belize’s barrier reef system has been developed in partnership with Blue Ventures, international fisheries stock assessment experts, and international lionfish management experts, providing a framework for the management of a ‘lionfishery’ that minimizes negative environmental impacts of the invasion, whilst maximizing socioeconomic benefits of fisheries diversification, alongside site-specific management targets for South Water Caye and Port Honduras Marine Reserves.

We strongly believe in the capacity of the Fisheries Department and Blue Ventures, that is why we encourage them to continue looking for funds to complete the national strategy, and we encourage you to support them by donating to us so we can continue supporting the control of lionfish in the MAR.

We will let you know how this strategy works!

After the regional workshop for the development of a regional strategy for the control of lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef, a first draft of the document was distributed to the participants so that they could provide comments and recommendations to it.

The National Council of Protected Areas of Guatemala offered the technical support for the layout of the document using high technology and a great staff.

While the document is getting ready, a couple of proposals to support local initiatives in Belize and Guatemala are being prepared based on the information and experiences shared during the workshop and the final draft of the regional strategy.

We have great expectations regarding the regional strategy.  It will launch a lot of local projects and initiatives that will represent regional progress towards the control of this invasive species.

We will let you know when the strategy is ready!

Lionfish workshop group
Lionfish workshop group

The Convention for the Conservation and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region, also known as the Cartagena Convention, and the Mesoamerican Reef Fund -MAR Fund-, recently signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the aim of work together on the conservation and sustainable management of coastal marine resources in areas of mutual importance.

As one of the first actions under the framework of this Memorandum, an initial workshop to develop the regional strategy for the control of lionfish in the MAR was held in Guatemala between 22 and 23 May 2014. The workshop allowed an exchange of experiences between the Caribbean and the Mesoamerican Reef countries.

The objectives of the workshop were:

  • To begin the development of a Mesoamerican Reef Strategy for the control of lionfish based on the Caribbean Strategy.
  • To have an exchange of experiences between the Caribbean and the MAR regions
  • To define concrete management and control actions for this invasive exotic specie

At the end of the workshop the organizers offered a lionfish tasting and thus promote the consumption of lionfish in the population. The objective of the completion of these type of events is to control the population of this invasive species and learn more about handling and control, thus contributing to the conservation of coral reefs.

The most important result of the workshop was the generation of inputs to develop a MAR regional strategy.  We will gladly share with you the progress of this strategy.

The MAR Fund Team


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Organization Information

Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund)

Location: Guatemala - Guatemala
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Maria Jose Gonzalez
Executive Director
Guatemala, Guatemala
$4,519 raised of $95,000 goal
31 donations
$90,481 to go
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