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Restoring Oceans

Blue Ventures

How the invasive lionfish was converted into a source of food and tourist revenue

Marine ecosystems are under threat all over the world. In Belize, the invasive red lionfish has disrupted marine food webs over the last two decades, damaging coral reefs and reducing the productivity of local fisheries.

Working with local communities, Blue Ventures have developed a strategy to control the lionfish population, creating new commercial opportunities at the same time as managing an environmental problem.

A campaign promoting lionfish in restaurants in Belize and the development of an export market in the USA have encouraged local fishing communities to increase their lionfish catch, reducing this predator's numbers and impact. Meanwhile another project has helped local craftmakers create a new line in lionfish jewellery aimed at the tourist market.

Blue Ventures started working with one community in south west Madagascar in 2003. Now they are working across 14 countries across the tropics, protecting more than 21,089 km2 of vital ocean habitat and impacting the lives of more than 754,000 people.

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