Major invasions of Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) are underway in the Western Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. While the establishment of lionfish in the Western Atlantic is perhaps the most well-studied marine fish invasion to date, the rapidly expanding invasion in the Mediterranean is more recent and has received less attention.
This paper reviews the successes and failures of two decades of lionfish management in the Western Atlantic to give policy recommendations for their management in the Mediterranean.
The authors recommend the most important management lessons: 1) conducting routine removals by spearfishing with scuba, which can effectively suppress local abundances of lionfish; 2) encouraging the development of recreational and commercial lionfish fisheries, which can promote long-term, sustainable lionfish population control; and, 3) engaging local communities and resource users (e.g., with lionfish removal tournaments), which can concurrently achieve multiple objectives of promoting lionfish removals, market-development, research, and public education.
It is also highlighted that the review done on policies and practices in the Mediterranean Sea found that many of the recommended lionfish management approaches are not being done and indicate potential opportunities to implement these.
The authors stress that, as with other major biological invasions, lionfish are unconstrained by political borders and their control will require rapid and strategic management approaches with broad cooperation among and between governments and stakeholders.
Ulman et al. (2022) Lessons from the Western Atlantic lionfish invasion to inform management in the Mediterranean. Frontiers in Marine Science 9:865162.