Marine Park, UWI target lionfish
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
THE UNIVERSITY of the West Indies (UWI) Marine Laboratory located in Runaway Bay, St Ann, is partnering with the Montego Bay Marine Park to combat the growing lionfish threat against the local fish stock.
Dr Dayne Buddo, marine biologist at the Marine Lab, explained that through the partnership with the UWI, they have acquired funding and have intensified work in the marine park area to curtail the rapid multiplying of the lionfish population.
"Through that partnership, we have developed a project to help to do some more intensive work research interventions in the marine park," said Dr Buddo. "What we are doing is to reduce the impact of one of the threats to the already depleting fish stocks and that is the invasive lionfish."
Dr Buddo explained that the lionfish is a major predator, which consumes very large quantities of baby fish and marine animals, which are heavily consumed by Jamaicans and visitors to the island.
Protecting local species
Brian Zane, executive director of the Montego Bay Marine Park, said the Marine Park had long established fish sanctuaries to protect and preserve the biodiversity of marine life, and the partnership serves to strengthen its efforts.
Zane said while the park does regular monitoring, especially in the sanctuary, the partnership allows for a more targeted look at the predatory lionfish.
"The slogan, 'If you can't beat them eat them,' is very much in focus here - it is a very tasty fish, so we are trying to raise market awareness, and to get people eating it. Once there is a market of people eating it, then you will have - us pulling the fish out using market forces to control this very invasive and dangerous specie," noted Zane.