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Project

Lionfish on the menu

Project Aims

Our goal is to contribute to the eradication of the invasive lionfish species, supporting the conservation of native reef fish stocks around Saint Lucia. To achieve this, we aim to demonstrate the economic value of catching and selling lionfish by building supply-chain links between fishing co-operatives and tourist restaurants.

Why

The rapid and devastating invasion of the lionfish in the Caribbean Sea is threatening the survival of coral reef systems, reducing native fish numbers by up to 80%¹. In Saint Lucia, lionfish populations are increasing, but consumption is low.

This is partly due to the misconception that the fish is poisonous and can’t be eaten (although the spines are venomous, with correct handling they can be easily and safely removed).

 

Latest Activities

Project activities will begin in 2017 and will focus on fishing communities in the South West of the island.

  • Delivering training to fishing communities on the safe handling and processing of lionfish
  • Improving knowledge of lionfish trapping techniques and access to equipment
  • Facilitating lionfish sales to tourist resorts by providing more cost-effective storage of fish
  • Facilitating supply chain linkages with hotels and restaurants
  • Raising awareness with hotels and restaurants of the benefits of purchasing lionfish
  • Supporting hotels and restaurants to develop communications materials for customers

Benefits

A decrease in lionfish populations will help to conserve one of the island’s main tourist attractions – the coral reef, which is Saint Lucia’s largest marine protected area. In the longer term, populations of native reef fish should increase.

Hotels and restaurants involved will be able to demonstrate their commitment to conservation to their customers.

The project will also benefit fishing communities, through increased incomes and conservation of local fish stocks.

Lionfish

 

[1] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-eating-lionfish-work/