The Fisheries Division to take steps to tackle the Lionfish invasion in Dominican waters

The Fisheries Division in collaboration with the Dominica Watersports Association have sought the assistance of REEF Environmental Education Foundation, in developing strategies to control a lionfish invasion in Dominican waters.

 

The lionfish, an invasive species, which originates from the South Pacific, have been spotted in at least three areas in Dominica’s marine environment.

 

An official from REEF, Lad Akins is currently on island conducting a series of meetings with stakeholders in the marine sector, to discuss how best they can control the lionfish population in Dominica.

 

Akins says the lionfish, which feeds on smaller fishes is maroon or red in color, with white strips on its body, and can have a devastating impact on Dominica’s fisheries industry.

 

Research also showed that the lionfish which has a very powerful diet, has few predators, meaning that not many bigger fishes feed on it.

 

Marine researchers have already reported that the lionfish population is now spreading through Caribbean waters.

 

Akins is advising fishermen and divers in Dominica to familiarize themselves with the lionfish and if spotted to immediately make a report to the fisheries division.

 

While the lionfish is not a death threat to humans, Akins says its spines contain venom, which causes intense pain and swelling when penetrated through the human flesh.

 

A sting from a lionfish can also lead to abdominal cramps, chills and seizures, which in his view, is a serious threat to divers.

 

Meetings were already held with scuba divers in Roseau and Portsmouth, as well as fishermen and divers in the Scotts Head/Soufriere area.

© 2012 SAT Telecommunications Ltd.

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