Puerto Morelos Reef National Park, Quintana Roo.
This program aims to establish control and reduction measures for lionfish (Pterois antennata), an invasive and exotic species that negatively impacts the Mexican Caribbean, particularly in the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park.
To be successful, the participation of users is necessary: fishermen, tourism service providers and tourists, who have been strategically trained in the efficient and safe capture of the species.
To date, we have taken the following actions:
- Dissemination materials: posters, stickers, capsules and articles.
- Development, acquisition and use of specific fishing gear for lionfish delivered to the Puerto Morelos Fishing Cooperative Society.
- Acquisition of refrigeration equipment.
- Creation of a constant market.
- Daily monitoring of catch, including quantity, weight, vessels, crew, site and depth.
The reefs of the Mesoamerican Caribbean are threatened by the massive invasion of lionfish, a species from the Indo-Pacific Ocean that in just 10 years has spread from the east coast of the United States to the coasts of Venezuela and the Caribbean islands. In waters of the Mexican Caribbean it was sighted for the first time in 2009.
The main effects it has had are:
- Threat to local fauna: it is a voracious carnivore that lacks natural predators, so it quickly exterminates local fauna. It feeds on species used by commercial fishing such as horse mackerel or red snapper, and on a threatened species: the Nassau grouper.
- Permanencia en diversos ecosistemas. Puede vivir en los ecosistemas costeros, incluyendo arrecifes de coral y manglares. Se localiza a profundidades que van al borde de la superficie hasta los 300 metros.
- Local economy: commercial and self-consumption fishers suffer serious losses as lionfish either predate or compete with species important to the local economy for food. It even impacts the conservation tourism industry - which generates 2.1 trillion dollars annually - , since by reducing diversity, it also ends the main attraction for this type of activities.
Note: Project financed by HSBC México and the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP).