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lionfish costa rica1Richard Whitcombe/Shutterstock

Costa Rica Clamps Down On Lionfish Invasion

The Association of South Caribbean Fishermen in Costa Rica has  submitted a protocol for capturing lionfish in an effort to control the spreading distribution of the invasive species

Not only does the new proposal outline measures to catch and consume the invasive species, but also provides the creation of a database that records information about the biology of the fish and the location and depth at which it was captured.

Specially designed nets and bait targeting the species are to be used to maximise the number of caught lionfish.  

'The battle against exotic and native invasive species is really a priority. Initiatives like this are a reflection of the efforts of the Costa Rican communities to support of healthy ecosystems and the welfare of the people,' said MINAE director, Fernando Mora.  

Fishing tournaments and subsidies for fishermen who catch lionfish are being initiated to clamp down on the spread of the invasive species.

The government has been promoting the consumption of the species in local communities since a 2013 summit on the matter highlighted the devastating impact lionfish have on reefs in the Southern Caribbean.

lionfish costa rica2Lionfish are being prepared for dinner after being caught in the Caribbean Sea / Ethan Daniels/Shutterstock

Lionfish spawn up to 2 milion eggs per year and have been found to wipe out up to 80 per cent of native fish and shellfish species.

Similar projects have been put in place across the Caribbean in an effort to protect the ecosystem and safe local fisheries. A lot of dive centres organise regular lionfish BBQs and REEF.org has published a lionfish cookbook to encourage people to eat the species. 

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