Controlling Lion Fish Invasion in the Caribbean

by Reef Check Dominican Republic Vetted since 2011


Lion Fish are a species endemic to the Pacific, but due to human intervention, particularly their use in aquariums, they have entered the Atlantic in the early 90s. Since then, they have affected almost all Caribbean islands, reducing local biodiversity by up to 80%. The cause of this plague is the lack of predation. Humans must play an intervening role in the control of Lion Fish and save local fish populations from extinction.

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Lion Fish were introduced from the Pacific into the Atlantic in the early 90s, and due to lack of natural predators they have spread widely and in large numbers, threatening biodiversity, dive operations, and local fisheries, such as the small community of La Caleta. Local fish have not yet learned how to eat them because of their venomous spines, and so the Lion Fish is currently rapidly devastating local fish populations. Local humans don't know how to catch or eat them either.


This project aims to support and promote the control of Lion Fish through human consumption. While the local fish learn how to eat them, humans can provide key control to save local populations from devastation. Your support will provide adequate training and necessary gear to local fishermen and sport divers, raising awareness and more importantly, creating a real incentive for a much needed control of the Lion Fish plague. Reef Check also delivers information on how to filet and cook the fish.

Long-Term Impact

La Caleta Marine Park is a small protected area in the Dominican Republic. A local community of fishermen was displaced for the creation of the Park. Lack of awareness and enforcement, made fishermen continue to overfish, depleting reef fish stock to very low levels. A few years ago local fishermen started a small Dive Shop to take divers out to the reefs, providing them with a better alternative than fishing, but now the Lion Fish is threatening their livelihood and local marine biodiversity.


Reef Check Dominican Republic
ICRI Lion Fish workshop website
Reef Check DR on Facebook
USGS - NAS - Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Website

Organization Information

Reef Check Dominican Republic

Location: Santo Domingo, DN - Dominican Republic
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Karen Pannocchia
Santo Domingo, Distrito Federal Dominican Republic

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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