Testing the effectiviness of two methods for selectively trapping lionfish and estimating the feasibilty of a commercial lionfish fishery on Saba
The invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles) started invading the Caribbean Sea since the 1980's and were first sighted on the Saba Bank since 2009 where they established themselves fully during the following two years. They have no specific preference for prey species and their predation on juveniles also heavily diminishes commercially and ecologically important fish stocks. Lionfish are particularly hard to control because they have virtually no natural predators in this region, they can produce up to 15.000 eggs every four days throughout the whole year, and they can tolerate a wide variety of habitat conditions. A multitude of regional culling programs have been developed in the Caribbean, many focused in the shallower near-shore areas. In order to offer a possible alternative for deep-water snapper fisheries on the Saba Bank for fishermen during a possible future closed season, experiments with trapping lionfish selectively using two altered fish traps designs have been conducted on the far eastern side of the Saba Bank over the period of May 2018 till September 2019, this to identify the most effective method of trapping lionfish.
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