Soares et al. 2023

scientific article | J Environ Manage

Lessons from the invasion front: Integration of research and management of the lionfish invasion in Brazil

Soares MO, Pereira PH, Feitosa CV, Maggioni R, Rocha RS, Bezerra LE, Duarte OS, Paiva SV, Noleto-Filho E, Silva MQ, Csapo-Thomaz M


After successful invasions in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, lionfish (Pterois spp.) have recently invaded an- other important biogeographical region —the Brazilian Province. In this article, we discuss this new invasion, fo- cusing on a roadmap for urgent mitigation of the problem, as well as focused research and management strate- gies. The invasion in Brazil is already in the consolidation stage, with 352 individuals recorded so far (2020–2023) along 2766 km of coastline. This includes both juveniles and adults, including egg-bearing females, ranging in length from 9.1 to 38.5 cm. Until now, most of the records in the Brazilian coast occurred in the equa- torial southwestern Atlantic (99%), mainly on the Amazon mesophotic reefs (15% of the records), northeastern coast of Brazil (45%), and the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago (41%; an UNESCO World Heritage Site with high endemism rate). These records cover a broad depth range (1–110 m depth), twelve protected areas, eight Brazilian states (Amapá, Pará, Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, and Pernambuco) and mul- tiple habitats (i.e., mangrove estuaries, shallow-water and mesophotic reefs, seagrass beds, artificial reefs, and sandbanks), indicating a rapid and successful invasion process in Brazilian waters. In addition, the lack of local knowledge of rare and/or cryptic native species that are potentially vulnerable to lionfish predation raises con- cerns regarding the potential overlooked ecological impacts. Thus, we call for an urgent integrated approach with multiple stakeholders and solution-based ecological research, real-time inventories, update of environmen- tal and fishery legislation, participatory monitoring supported by citizen science, and a national and unified plan aimed at decreasing the impact of lionfish invasion. The experience acquired by understanding the invasion process in the Caribbean and Mediterranean will help to establish and prioritize goals for Brazil.

Depth range
1- 56 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
8 x (total of 7159 words)

* Focused on 'mesophotic' depth range
* Focused on 'mesophotic coral ecosystem'

Management and Conservation


Brazil - Eastern Brazil
Brazil - Fernando Noronha

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