Panama Chamber of Shipping promotes “Meet the Lionfish” campaign

“The lionfish is a carnivore that feeds on other fish and crustaceans, many of these of great commercial importance and others of great ecological importance.

Therefore, its presence has great effects on the sites where this species is established, both for the environment and for the coastal communities that depend on fishing.

They are very voracious animals capable of expanding their stomach in order to continue eating and feed up to 30 times a day.

Cámara Marítima de PanamáThey have a high capacity to reproduce, being able to do it every three or four days throughout the year, where they are able to release from 20,000 to 40,000 eggs depending on the size of the fish.

In addition, being a species that does not belong to the region, it does not have natural predators that control its number, as in its natural habitat.

In Panama, the first registration and capture occurred in 2009 in Bocas del Toro. Three individuals were collected, the first in May and the second and third in July.

After the first report, it was understood that it was necessary to take action with the objective of controlling the populations of this species in the Panamanian Caribbean, as well as educating the Panamanian population about the problem, ways of capture, manipulation, ways of cooking and marketing it.

The Faculty of Marine Sciences of the Panama International Maritime University (UMIP) in collaboration with the Aquatic Authority (ARAP), ScubaPanama, the Border Patronal Services (Senafront), Ocean Pollution Control S.A,, Hub News and more actors, conduct education and capture lionfish tournaments in the Portobelo area since 2015.

The most recent event was on July 28, 2019, where the Panama Chamber of Shipping participated with members of the Environment Commission. In this event it became aware of the capture and taste of lionfish in the diving center of Scubaportobelo.

The participants who caught the smallest and largest amount of fish were awarded prizes.

“This is an issue that should be known to the public,” says director René Gómez of the Chamber of Shipping. Creativity encouraging the consumption of lionfish is something that has also been done in other countries in the Caribbean to mitigate the environmental impact. It is important to know that the public can replace the fish species that are usually consumed by lionfish.

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