By: Jonathan Luman
Originally found in the warm waters of the South Pacific reefs. Lionfish have now been found as far away as Rhode Island USA. Causing alarm among ecologists, businessmen and fisherman alike. Where these exotic fish have taken hold they have caused extensive damage to coral reefs and local fish populations
Scientists theorize that Lionfish first became introduced in the Atlantic ocean by accident. Reproducing rapidly in the waters off Florida and the Caribbean islands. Their numbers have grown dramatically because they have no natural predators in these waters.
Lionfish have been spotted as far north as Rhode Island. Although they do not survive long here in the colder waters. If these Lionfish got a foot hold it could be devastating to the New England fishing industry.
A large amount of resources is currently being spent to educate people about Lionfish and to provide incentives for scuba divers to hunt and capture them in non native waters.
Some see a solution in the fact that the fish are edible and in fact quite delicious.
Groups are urging that the best way to combat Lionfish is to create a market for their meat.
Lionfish don’t have a roar but they do have poisonous fins making them harder to capture by anyone untrained. Although rarely fatal they can make you sick. Divers are encouraged to learn how to handle them before you attempt to capture any.
What can you do? Take action!
- Eat Lionfish! Their white flakey meat is high in protein and is said to be delicious. They are becoming popular in high end restaurants. Check out some recipes
- Download the Seafood Watch app for your Smartphone to make better decisions on what seafood to eat.
- If you spot any of these Lionfish report it to REEF’S Lionfish program