Government sets up a commission for lionfish threat

The government finally acted Friday to confront the invasive lionfish in the Caribbean. A decree created the Comisión Nacional para el Manejo y Control del Pez León.

The lionfish has been a problem for years, and the role of the committee was described as coordination by Fernando Mora Rodríguez, a vice minister of  Agua, Mares, Costas y Humedales.

The lionfish has no natural enemies because it is so well protected by spines. The fish uses its large dorsal fins to herd small creatures into

groups where they may be consumed. The main way to reduce the species is with divers. Commercial fishermen in the southern Caribbean coast hold lionfish derbies each year to encourage spearing and cooking.

A.M. Costa Rica has been reporting on the threats posed by the lionfish since 2010.

The commission will include representatives from 10 public agencies, including the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo and also from universities. Although the government is a latecomer in setting up a commission, university researchers have been studying the lionfish problem for years.

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