Scientists have published a series of recommendations to enable communities and managers to minimise the impact of lionfish in the Mediterranean Sea.
The invasive species was first noticed off the coast of the Lebanon in 2012, with sightings since recorded as far west as Sicily, and north into the Adriatic Sea off Croatia.
More entered in 2015 due to the enlargement and deepening of the Suez Canal, with their spread unimpeded due to a lack of common predators.
Researchers in the UK and Cyprus have said increasing lionfish densities – combined with the species’ generalist diet and consumption of ecologically and socio-economically important fish – has the potential to result in further disruption of an already stressed marine environment.
They have now published a Guide to Lionfish Management in the Mediterranean, which features a series of recommendations through which they hope lionfish populations can be managed.
This includes organising targeted culls and creating a supply chain between fishers, markets, businesses and consumers to make lionfish a component of the region’s fishing industry.
They have also called for legal changes to permit lionfish removals across the Mediterranean, and for the species to be included on the European Union list of invasive species of concern.