Lionfish: invasion in the Caribbean

Tania Escobar Series, Voces del Mar

An exotic underwater pirate started reproducing exponentially in the Mexican Caribbean and locals seek creative strategies to control its voracious appetite.

The introduction of the lionfish in the Florida peninsula, and its subsequent expansion throughout the Caribbean Sea, is a major problem for fisheries and reef ecosystems off the coast of Quintana Roo.

Originally from the Indo-Pacific, the lionfish is an invasive species with a high reproductive capacity and intense predatory behavior. This invasion has caused concern among academics, fishermen, tourism service providers, and environmental authorities who have worked together in the development of innovative strategies to control the species.

In various fishing communities like Mahahual, Puerto Morelos, Cozumel, Chinchorro and Xcalak, tournaments, fishing trips, and culinary events have been organized, as well as temporary employment contracts, in order to reduce the ecological and economic impacts that this species, with its voracious appetite, can cause.