Lionfish Control programme


Project includes base line studies, identification and training of key stakeholders, development of a citizen science lionfish app and lionfish management plans. The project is conducted on Bonaire, CuraƧao, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, Saba. Lionfish control in the Dutch Caribbean started early with St. Eustatius writing the first Lionfish Response Plan before the lionfish had even reached the island. This plan was subsequently adopted or adapted by many other islands. Bonaire started its own lionfish control program as soon as the lionfish reached the island in 2009 and when lionfish numbers strated rising beyond manageable numbers of for the marine park management, instituted a licensing system for controlled lionfish hunting using only approved and registered ELF equipment. This proved to be highly succesful, and was further enabled by a 'lionfish control app' allowing hunters to easily record all their catches on a website. A commercial market for lionfish developed and prices rose from an initial $ 6/kg to $ 12-15/kg at present, with lionfish pizza and lionfish sushi available at specialized restaurants on the island alongside more conventional lionfish dishes. The effectiveness of this program was verified through comparison with Curacao, where organized lionfish control did not start until two years later.

Additional remarks: 

For further reading see

Category of best practice: 

Biodiversity management (e.g. conservation ex situ and in situ, sustainable use and exploitation, rehabilitation, management of invasive species, pollutants, pesticides)
Governance and policies (e.g. interactions science/societies, regulations, decision-makers, networks, international collaborations)

Criteria used to define the best practice: 

Significant contribution to preservation of biodiversity and ecological effectiveness
Provision of further environmental and socio-economic benefits
Applicability/transferability to other regions
Sustainability of projects (i.e. projects remain beyond the given funding)
Good governance (involve relevant stakeholders and integrate different interests and perspectives and needs in part from local stakeholders)


Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance - DCNA (NGO). Kaya Finlandia 10A, Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Contact details: 

Kalli De Meyer ( - Director

Geographic region: 



Bonaire, Saba, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius