Invasive lionfish populations have a direct, negative impact on native fish biomass and will, in turn, be detrimental to traditional fisheries and the socio-economic well-being of fishing communities. Lionfish population suppression through targeted removals has been shown to protect reef fish populations. The impact of invasive lionfish on invertebrate populations and fisheries is as yet unassessed, though invertebrates constitute a large proportion of lionfish diets in Belize.
Here we describe the step-by-step process of developing a lionfish control programme, largely based on a market-based approach through commercial fisheries, but also detailing alternative targeted removal methods for sites where fishing is not permitted or practical (e.g. protected areas). Although this process was developed in Belize, it can be modified and adapted to different country contexts.