The lionfish (Pterois miles and P. volitans) is native to the Indo-Pacific but in less than a decade has flooded the waters of along the Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean.
Lionfish are a popular aquarium fish and probably ended up in Caribbean waters after being “released” by previous owners who no longer wanted them. As an invasive species, they don’t belong in these waters. Here, they don’t have any natural predators so their population has exploded. They compete for resources with commercially important species like grouper and snapper and they have the ability to permanently change the native reef communities.
In order to control the lionfish population, many organizations have hosted lionfish tournaments with prizes given to those who catch the most of them. Another popular method of population control is to put lionfish on menus! In 2010, REEF Environmental Education Foundation published a Lionfish Cookbook that teaches people how to properly catch and prepare the fish and includes tons of delicious recipes.
CBS This Morning recently hosted a marine biologist who discusses the invasive lionfish and how to eat them. Check it out:
To learn more, check out some of these links:
- Read the whole story from CBS: Lionfish: Invasive species devastating reefs, expert says
- Protecting Native Plants and Animals from Nature Conservancy
- Invasive Lionfish from NOAA
- Controlling invasive lionfish may best be done in targeted areas, UF research shows
- How to conquer the invasive lionfish? Sauté it.
- Check out the USDA’s National Invasive Species Information Center
- Buy the Lionfish Cookbook on Amazon
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.