The lionfish is the first invasive species to establish within the wider Caribbean region, where it threatens coral reef ecosystems as a whole, as well as associated goods and ecosystem services upon which a large portion of coastal communities depend on. Two invasive species of lionfish, Pterois volitans and Pterois miles, are in the Caribbean and this century they have become one of the greatest threats to coral reefs.
In January 2010, in recognition of the seriousness of the lionfish invasion and its impact on coral reefs and local communities, the 24th General Conference of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) decided to create an Ad-hoc committee to develop a strategic plan to control lionfish in the Wider Caribbean. The strategy was designed in consensus between several regional and national stakeholders to take advantage of existing programs and efforts in order to minimize the effects of lionfish in the Wider Caribbean region and to provide a framework for action to facilitate a concerted regional response to the lionfish threat.
Since the lionfish invasion affects several countries in the Wider Caribbean, including countries of the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) System, and in order to add to previous efforts, representatives of the four countries that share the MAR (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras) met in Guatemala City in May 2014, to get familiarized with the strategy adopted by the countries of the Wider Caribbean in response to this threat, in order to develop a lionfish control strategy in the MAR region.
The workshop was conducted with the financial support of the German Cooperation through the KfW, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Regional Activity Center (SPAW-RAC), MAR Fund, and with technical support from the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) of Mexico and Reef Check Dominican Republic (RCDR).
Regional Strategy for the control of
Lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR)
Based on the regional strategy, the need to develop national action plans was identified.