USVI Lionfish Response Program

Wreck Life Adventure Center has partnered up with CORE VI in an effort to eradicate the indigenous population of Lionfish.

We feel it is important to educate our divers about Lionfish in general before we partake in an eradication dive.

Below is a short synopsis about our local Lionfish Response Program. We have also provided some in-depth research that has been conducted by various organizations about Lionfish. Feel free to contact CORE VI or our shop in reference to any questions you might have.

The lionfish invasion poses a significant risk to the U.S. Virgin Islands’ coral reef ecosystems, fisheries resources, and island economies. This updated territorial Lionfish Response Management Plan for the US Virgin Islands addresses the potential ecological and economic threat posed by invasive lionfish with specific strategies for removal, research and monitoring, education and outreach, marketing and communications. The plan was designed to establish agreed-upon goals and objectives and to build a framework for meeting these objectives through coordination among organizations, agencies, businesses and individuals.

Since the creation of the original response plan in 2009, the severity of the lionfish invasion has worsened, local circumstances have changed, and researchers, managers and citizen groups are more organized and knowledgeable about what is working and what is not. As a result, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Divisions of Fish and Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management supported the process of updating and revising the plan with assistance from The Nature Conservancy. The update was a collaborative, public participatory process that included community members, organizations, agencies and businesses that are active in lionfish control and those that are concerned about the impacts of the lionfish invasion. Public forums and planning workshops were held on both St. Croix and St. Thomas in October 2013, and questionnaires were distributed to gather stakeholder input and compile the most recent knowledge on lionfish in the Virgin Islands. A summary of the information gathered at the October meetings was released in December 2013 and was open to public comment. A lionfish planning team provided input and feedback on the plan elements and drafts, and two strategy calls took place in January.

The executive summary provides a list of major findings, immediate action items, and priority strategies for the next 5 years, with the overall goal for management and control being: to prevent lionfish from negatively impacting local fisheries and marine ecosystems, and endangering public safety. Also contained within the plan are specific actions for the upcoming year, a guide for addressing gaps and making advancements in lionfish control, a review of existing resources and potential funding sources, and an inventory of current activities taking place with contact information for each.

This plan is meant to be a living document with regular updates made to reflect current information and management strategies. We invite the community to comment or make suggested changes to keep the document up to date.

Lionfish Reporting Form