field observation

about the project

Lionhare :“Development of innovative measures to document, map and mitigate populations of the invasive species silverstriped blaasop (Lagocephalus sceleratus) and Lionfish species (Pterois sp.) in the Greek seas. ”

Funded by the Fisheries and Maritime Operational Program 2014 – 2020 of the Greek Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food, and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

(ΟΠΣ) : 5049087


The expansion of the toxic species silverstripe blaasop, (Lagocephalus sceleratus) and the lionfish (Pterois spp), that have invaded the Mediterranean waters through the Suez Canal, has proliferated in many areas of the eastern Mediterranean sea (Levantine coasts, Cyprus, South Aegean, Crete, South Ionian) with significant impact not only on the biodiversity and the marine environment, but also on the local fisheries. Trading of the silverstripe blaasop isn’t allowed, because its consumption may be fatal to humans, as its tissues contain a dangerous neuroparalytic toxin. Furthermore, the species has no natural enemies in the Mediterranean, an asset that enables its rapid expansion. Common measures to mitigate its impacts have not been fruitful thus, the development of specialized measures to control its population is necessary.

Lionfish, which appeared more recently in the Greek seas (2015), expands very rapidly. It has been already spread almost across the whole Greek territory, while in certain areas, such as the southern Dodecanese and Crete, has developed large populations. It is a space conqueror and it is considered as one of the worst invasive species regarding its impact on the native ichthyofauna, as it mainly feeds on the offspring of fish. The current research study shall create new knowledge and innovative tools to battle the species under investigation, but also future dangerous or space-conquering invasive species.

Meet the Lionfish in your dish

Sauté lionfish with tamarisk sauce and olive cake

Marinated lionfish with lemon compote

Lionfish soup

More Recipes>>​


The possibility for someone to get stung by a lionfish while swimming is minimal, as lionfishes during daylight hours stay hidden in cracks and crevices. However, if you ever have to handle a lionfish, you should pay extra attention to their hard spines of their dorsal and ventral fins, which carry toxin. So, if you go fishing for lionfishes, it would be best if you carry along and have handy a thermos flask filled with hot water. If you accidentally get stung by the fish’s spines, emerge the afflicted limb in the hot water for about 10 minutes (or for as long you can stand the temperature). The high temperature neutralizes the toxin alleviating the induced pain and swelling. If you don’t have hot water with you, prop the afflicted part on a hot surface. If you are allergic, it would be best to carry with you the prescribed by your doctor medicines. In case the swelling and the pain become more intense by time, you should make for the closest medical centre or the closest drugstore/pharmacy.

Play Video

How to safely remove the venomous spines from lionfish

Lionfish spines located on the dorsal, ventral and anal fins dispone of a toxin that can result in a painful sting. In this video you can watch a demo to help you safely remove the lionfish venomous spines.


In the frames of LIONHARE project, a simple, safe and cheap apparatus for the collection of lionfishes from spear-gun fishing was constructed by HCMR staff. In the video the step-by-step construction of this apparatus is presented with detailed instructions.

Play Video

ask to your fisher for lionfish

In areas with big lionfish populations, like Crete and S. Aegean, people should start to eat it. It is delicious and by consuming it we contribute to the reduction of its populations, which are harmfull for native species and marine ecosystems

Contact us

Institute:   Marine Biological Resources
Address:   HCMR 71500 Gournes Pediados Crete, Greece
Tel:            +30 2810337830
Fax:           +302810337822