lionfish ¨Hunters Becoming the Hunted: Lionfish Role Reversal!

Lionfish photo by Jens Petersen

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Jamaica is taking some drastic measures to help prevent the collapse of the marine fisheries. They are now promoting lionfish as being a tasty treat for any menu. This effort is to help control the explosive growth of the lionfish population.

Officials have said that the nation’s marine biodiversity, its food security and economic well-being are all at risk.

“The situation in Jamaica is urgent,” commented the national coordinator for the Jamaican component of a Caribbean-wide Invasive Alien Species Project at the National Environment and Planning Agency, Nelsa English.

“A lack of sufficient natural predators suggests that it (lionfish) could be a potentially significant threat to Jamaica’s biodiversity and the ecosystem in general,” she added.

The marine resources of Jamaica are stretched dangerously thin, its reefs are being exploited to the point of extinction, and the fishing practices being used are detrimental to the environment. Some people even go as far as to use explosives to bring up their fish! Those that don’t often use toxic chemicals and nets whose mesh is illegally small.

Researchers have agreed that many of the once majestic reefs have been decimated to becoming mere communities of coral, and no longer operate as complete ecosystems due to the lack of diversity that calls them home.

Well seems to me that lionfish are part of the problem, and Jamaica has the answer. They are following suit as other nations are frying them up, putting them in sandwiches or using them as a pizza topping.