POLICY AND MANAGEMENT OPTIONS FOR INVASIVE INDO-PACIFIC LIONFISH IN U.S. WATERS

Abstract

The Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois miles and P. volitans) is now one of the most notorious marine finfish invasions in history. With established populations ranging from North Carolina, U.S.A, to the Atlantic coast of South America and the Gulf of Mexico, invasive lionfish have the potential to seriously hamper rebuilding efforts for domestic and international fisheries, negatively impact marine ecotourism, limit marine ornamental aquarium trade profits, and adversely affect human health. Considering that current lionfish management practices in U.S. waters are minimal at best, there is a need to identify and analyze additional management options aimed at controlling local densities of lionfish, and ultimately mitigate the ecological and economic impact of this invasion. This masters project describes the progress of current lionfish management efforts and legislation within the United States. Policy and management options for invasive lionfish at the state, territorial, and federal levels are described, and analyses of lionfish management practices conducted by different managerial authorities were assessed. A review is also provided federal laws that pertain to the lionfish invasion. Options for specific lionfish management approaches within state and territorial jurisdictional waters are presented, and an evaluation of the benefits and challenges behind these options is provided. This policy review indicates that although current lionfish management within U.S. state and federal waters is lacking, several management options are available for future implementation. Options yet to be implemented include creating an Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force approved lionfish control plan for coordination of lionfish control efforts in specific locations such as marine protected areas. Additional future efforts could include development of incentive-based control strategies such as a lionfish fishery; however taking such action may illicit undesirable economic dependency on an environmentally harmful species. This analysis reveals the inherent complexity of addressing management of invasive species, which in the case of invasive lionfish spans local, state, territorial, federal, and international jurisdictions.

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Citation

Schram, Jonathan (2011). POLICY AND MANAGEMENT OPTIONS FOR INVASIVE INDO-PACIFIC LIONFISH IN U.S. WATERS. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/3691.


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