While the coral reefs of the Caribbean face the same challenges as reefs worldwide — most significantly coral decline and overfishing — the region also faces a unique problem: the invasion of lionfish.
While lionfish derbies and “if you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em” campaigns abound, Sylvia Earle offered one insight at last year’s Blue Ocean Film Festival: create more marine protected areas to bring back the apex predators of coral reefs, like grouper and shark, both of which are known to eat lionfish.
Marine parks can also help distressed reefs bounce back from outbreaks of black-band and white-plague diseases, as well as other serious threats, says the Nature Conservancy’s Philip Kramer.
With a network of Caribbean reef managers in place, Kramer says it’s possible to develop strategies to cope with climate change, overfishing and other stressors.
Click here to read more about the marine park efforts in the Caribbean.