Kristian Rogers

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2014


The Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) is a highly invasive marine fish species that has been rapidly spreading throughout the western Atlantic Ocean for the past two decades. Currently, the primary method used to manage lionfish populations is removal by roving diver surveys but this method has several constraints such as depth, time, and air supply that limit removals from occurring throughout the entire invaded region. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a recently developed lionfish trap that utilizes live bait as an attractant to assess whether this could be a viable means of removing lionfish. The removal efficiency of this trapping method was compared to the current technique of roving diver surveys. Traps were deployed throughout Biscayne National Park and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary at seven different sites of varying depth and habitat. Over the course of these deployments, no lionfish or incidental by-catch were caught in any of the traps. In order to assess lionfish capture efficiency, removal and observational (control, non-removal) surveys took place throughout the park at 16 different sites in different habitats (continuous vs. isolated shallow patch reefs) and depths. The overall capture efficiency for all participating divers was 78.3%. The mean capture time was 01:18 ± 01:04 while the mean time until a lionfish was encountered on a survey was 08:10 ± 05:38. A significantly higher amount of lionfish was observed on the deeper continuous reef sites over the course of these surveys. No significant correlations were found regarding the number of observed lionfish over time or the observed length of lionfish over time. Between the two methods of removal, roving diver surveys were the more efficient method. This specific trap design had a number of flaws, which contributed to its ineffectiveness in the area where it was tested. Additional studies are needed to assess whether other trap designs could prove to be a viable management alternative. i


Department: MBF

MPS Track: TME

Location: Biscayne National Park (Homestead, FL )

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