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New Trap Designs Could Put a Stop to the Invasive Lionfish


How do you control a harmful invasive species before it damages reef ecosystems? NOAA and its partners have developed and released designs for new lionfish traps that could provide the first realistic means of controlling invasive deep-water lionfish populations and support the development of a lionfish fishery.

Fish traps are currently prohibited in Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic federal waters, and some other areas, without appropriate permits. The two new trap designs, if approved for use in the U.S. or elsewhere, could give fishermen a better way to capture lionfish in deep water, said Steve Gittings, Ph.D., chief scientist for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and principal designer of the new traps.

“These new designs have the potential to help fishermen meet a growing demand for lionfish in the seafood market and speed up removal of these voracious invaders,” Gittings said. “This is a double win as it helps protect ecologically, recreationally, or commercially important native species while promoting a potential fishery.”

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