Targeted removals and enhanced monitoring can help manage lionfish in the Mediterranean

targeted removals and enhanced monitoring can help manage lionfish in the mediterranean

Sumary of Targeted removals and enhanced monitoring can help manage lionfish in the Mediterranean:

  • Targeted removals can be effective in suppressing the number of invasive lionfish found within protected coastlines around the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Scientists working as part of the European Union-funded RELIONMED project teamed up with specially trained divers and citizen scientists to conduct a series of removal events and surveys over a six-month period.
  • Focussed on three marine protected areas on the coast of Cyprus — the Zenobia shipwreck off Larnaca, and two popular diving sites within the Cape Greco Marine Protected Area — between 35 and 119 lionfish were removed per day by divers at each protected site.
  • As a result, scientists writing in the Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems journal, say such initiatives can undoubtedly be effective in reducing population numbers.
  • The research was led by researchers at the University of Plymouth (UK) and Marine and Environmental Research (MER) Lab (Cyprus).
  • They have been collaborating for several years as part of the €1.6million RELIONMED project, which aims to assess the history of the lionfish invasion in Cyprus, and identify ways to minimise its future impact.
  • Periklis Kleitou, Research Assistant on the RELIONMED project and lead author on the study, said: “There are many changes happening within the Mediterranean as a consequence of human activity and climate change.
  • Professor of Marine Biology Jason Hall-Spencer, senior author on the current study and one of the core group of scientists that advises the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), said: “This study demonstrates the complex nature of managing and protecting our ocean.

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