Fish

All about fish, new species, new discoveries and all kind of interesting things about fish

Aquarium Industry

Everything about new equipment, breeders and other news about ornamental fish

Weird, Cool & Fun

Weird things about fish, fishkeepers, fish shops, shows and more.

From the wild

News from the wild, new species, things happening in fish habitats and more.

Zoo & Aquariums

What’s happening in Zoo’s and public aquariums, read the news here.

Home » Fish

Lionfish Attacking Atlantic Ocean Like A Living Oil Spill

Submitted by on April 26, 2013 – 6:39 pmNo Comment |
A gluttonous predator is power-eating its way through reefs from New York to Venezuela. It's the lionfish. And although researchers are coming up with new ways to protect some reefs from the flamboyant maroon-striped fish, they have no hope of stopping its unparalleled invasion.

A gluttonous predator is power-eating its way through reefs from New York to Venezuela. It’s the lionfish. And although researchers are coming up with new ways to protect some reefs from the flamboyant maroon-striped fish, they have no hope of stopping its unparalleled invasion.

A gluttonous predator is power-eating its way through reefs from New York to Venezuela. It’s the lionfish. And although researchers are coming up with new ways to protect some reefs from the flamboyant maroon-striped fish, they have no hope of stopping its unparalleled invasion.

Lad Akins has scuba dived in the vibrant reefs of the Bahamas for many years. But when he returned a couple years ago, he saw almost no fish smaller than his hand.  “Seeing the lack of small reef fish that used to inhabit those sites was very startling to me,” says Akins, the director of special projects at Reef Environmental Education Foundation, a conservation group for scuba divers.

The lionfish are native to the coral reefs of the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. They were first spotted off Florida in 1985. But it wasn’t until the past decade that large numbers were spotted in the Atlantic, Caribbean and . The fish may have been transported by the aquarium trade.

A recent study found that in just two years, reefs in the Bahamas lost on average 65 percent of their small prey fish. Larger fish, like red snapper and grouper, decreased by more than 40 percent.

Researchers warn that similar devastation could be expected throughout the region.

Why are lionfish such phenomenal invaders?

They reproduce every few days and eat anything that fits into their mouths. And nothing eats them because they’re covered with venomous spines.

Akins now spends most of his time studying lionfish, organizing groups of volunteer divers to capture or kill them, and trying to come up with other ways to get rid of them. His group published a full of lionfish recipes and tries to encourage restaurants and the fishing industry to see them as food.

Where Are The Lionfish?

This map, from the U.S. Geological Survey and NOAA, shows where lionfish populations have been between 1985 and 2013.

Lionfish Animation

Credit: USGS/NOAA

Scientists hope that removing lionfish one by one may help preserve native fish populations in some reefs that are important for tourism, conservation or fishing. But it can’t stop the lionfish’s explosive foray into the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.

“We know that we cannot control them in the entire ocean,” says James Morris, an ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It’s just too big.” Morris says invasive species are biological pollution. “It’s like an oil spill that keeps reproducing and will keep reproducing forever,” he says.

Source: NPR.org

Tags:

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also Comments Feed via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.