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Assessment and Management of Lionfish and Status of Other Marine Invasive Species of Threat to High Biodiversity-value Reef Ecosystems

The impacts of lionfish, the focal species of this study, were examined using several approaches. These included re-surveying the coral reef fish communities at 10 reefs every four months for a year, and re-surveying the catches and catch rates of reef fishers at the two main landing sites for this fishery during the pelagic fishery season and during the off-season. The results were then compared with the pre-invasion baseline data collected in 2012 using the same methods and study sites to look for any changes in the native reef fish communities, or in the catch composition and yields of reef fishers. Additional roving surveys to record lionfish were also conducted on selected reefs during the day and again after sunset to make sure that lionfish was not being underestimated in daytime surveys. The study also collaborated with local fishers to conduct pilot fishing with deepwater traps to test their efficacy in controlling lionfish populations in depths beyond the reach of divers. Lionfish management efforts implemented to date were ascertained through the authors’ personal knowledge and through interviews with Government technical officers, dive shop operators, and local recreational divers.

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