FWC organized and hosted a Lionfish Summit at the Cocoa Beach Hilton Oceanfront in Cocoa Beach, Florida, on Oct. 22-24, 2013. The goal of this summit was to develop a collaborative framework for partnering on future lionfish management that includes identification of research priorities, management actions and outreach initiatives. In order to accomplish this goal, researchers, managers and marine resource user groups involved in lionfish control activities were invited to provide oral and poster presentations at the summit in an effort to inform participants of the work being done in Florida and elsewhere on lionfish. After these presentations, participants were asked to review and provide comment on the desired future conditions for lionfish in Florida. FWC also sought and received participant input on needs for lionfish research and management actions to support the desired future conditions through a series of facilitated discussions. Participants generated potential actions in a series of sessions that were ranked by stakeholders as to their relative importance. These actions were categorized as research, policy and regulations, control strategies, education and outreach, and other actions. The Summit was attended by 127 people. These individuals represented local governments, SCUBA diving and spearfishing groups, commercial fishing organizations, National Parks, universities, marine environmental groups and the public.
A total of 28 presentations were given during the Summit: 15 oral presentations, and 13 poster presentations (Appendix C). The entire Summit was broadcast live by The Florida Channel, and is archived on The Florida Channel website at http://thefloridachannel.org/.
The FWC Lionfish Team will substantively evaluate every recommendation made at the Summit. At this point, the process for that evaluation is undetermined. However, it will include considering the anticipated outcome of each action combined with identifying the challenges and needs for implementation, and an evaluation of the possibility for unintended consequences, should there be any. As needed, the Lionfish Team will consult with outside experts regarding the recommendations. At the end of the evaluation, the Lionfish Team will provide its recommendations for implementation to Agency leadership.
For those recommendations that can be implemented with relative ease, especially in the Outreach category, the FWC will begin developing strategies and products. For example, improvements to the lionfish web presence will be made in the near future. In particular, the Lionfish Team will be contacting the presenters at the conference to request permission to post their documents on our website. We will also provide updated links to partner organizations’ lionfish websites.
The Lionfish team will take the research recommendations and flesh them out in more detail. Once complete, the team will communicate these recommendations combined with the priority information to our partner agencies. We will also encourage these agencies to place these lionfish research needs into their announcements for proposals.
Ultimately, the Lionfish Summit and the next steps as described are just the beginning of what the FWC recognizes will need to be a sustained long-term effort. Our objective will be to pursue a combination of management, outreach and research activities that maximizes the likelihood of reaching and maintain the desired future condition for lionfish in the State of Florida.
2013 Lionfish Summit Report
Summit Posters, Presentations and Abstracts