A comparison of eight country plans for the Invasive Indo-Pacific Lionfish in the Wider Caribbean
• The Caribbean region is being negatively impacted by the invasive lionfish.
• Management efforts by eight Caribbean islands addressing lionfish are assessed.
• The US-EPA AIS Management Framework (2008) is used to assess management performance.
• Countries scored lowest on prevention strategies and highest on public education.
• Opportunities to enhance management efforts are presented.
The effects of climate change and marine invasive species have posed a major threat to significant ecological, aesthetic, economic and amenity value to the countries and territories of the Wider Caribbean Region. Today, the Caribbean Sea is plagued with the invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles). As the range and abundance of the lionfish throughout the Caribbean has grown, recognition of the grave threat it poses to the native marine ecosystems has prompted the development of lionfish management plans across the region. The efforts of eight countries in the region to manage lionfish are evaluated using the US Environmental Protection Agency Aquatic Invasive Species framework and the inclusion of climate change and/or changing conditions. The countries and overseas territories evaluated were Anguilla, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Grenada, St. Eustatius, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the US Virgin Islands. Although specific strategies differed amongst the islands depending upon needs, culture, and individual circumstances, most of the plans included aspects of education and outreach, control and monitoring protocols, and research and information management. Areas that were found to be notably weak to nonexistent included leadership, prevention, early detection and rapid response and restoration; This comparative analysis provides opportunities for knowledge sharing and intra- and inter-country cooperation, facilitating the transfer and development of interventions that contribute to the conservation of significant island biodiversity.