Are we making a difference? Baseline research in Saint Lucia

The Travel Foundation has been undertaking projects around the globe for fifteen years, aiming to make tourism better for local people and the environment. We want to be sure our projects are making a difference, so we conduct a baseline survey at an early stage.

For our current work in Saint Lucia, harnessing tourism to help control the invasive lionfish species and save coral reefs, we surveyed fishing communities, and researched the fish dishes that hotels and restaurants were serving. Our implementing partner CLEAR Caribbean is currently doing an AGRRA reef survey to count lionfish numbers.

Some of our key aims with the project are:

  • 50% increase in number of target fishers selling lionfish
  • 50% increase in the number of hotels and restaurants purchasing lionfish
  • 30% decrease in lionfish populations across four target sites

So how do things stand at present? To give you an idea:lionfish

We found that 77% of fishers currently catch lionfish, though in the fishing community of Dennery that drops to only 20%, so there is potential to encourage a lot more trapping of the species.

Of those who catch lionfish, 35% don’t sell it on. They are more likely to eat it themselves, or give it away for free. Only around a third of the fishers knew how to fillet a lionfish.

We found that only 7 out of the 35 hotels surveyed currently buy lionfish.

When the reef survey is complete, we’ll also get a sense of how many lionfish currently prowl the coral, eating the native fish.

This research into the status quo helps us measure the effectiveness of our projects, as well as learn lessons for the future.

Find out more about our project Lionfish on the Menu

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