Bermuda Readies Lionfish Control Plan


Above: a lionfish (Photo: Abel Valdivia)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Bermuda’s government says it has completed a Control Plan to deal with the problem of the invasive lionfish.

The plan was developed by a partnership including the island’s government, NGOs and citizens through a group called the Lionfish Taskforce.

“Lionfish pose a significant threat to Bermuda’s reef fish stocks, and ultimately the reef ecosystem, as they feed heavily on local fish and invertebrates and have no natural predators here,” Environment and Health Minister Trevor Moniz told Parliament last week. (Moniz was sworn in last week as the island’s new Attorney General.)

The plan focuses on five priorities: education, outreach and training; research and assessment, detection and removal; monitoring and data gathering and data management.

Over the last year, the island has already implemented several initiatives, including the addition of more than 300 people to Bermuda’s lionfish culling permit programme, the launch of a sighting and capture programme and education and outreach activities.

Lionfish were first reported in Bermuda in 1999, and their numbers have been increasing in recent years.

“The Plan represents the first stage of the overall control strategy and will provide a reference for anyone who is actively engaged in learning about lionfish and developing local control tactics,” Moniz said.