Invasive Lionfish Population Explosion Disaster

The following time-lapsed representation of the explosive growth in numbers and range of lionish sightings is unbelievable.

This map shows the spread of lionfish populations from 1985 to 2018. It clearly highlights the magnitude of what is going on. The map, produced by the USGS Wetlands and Aquatic Research Center, documents the explosive growth in lionfish populations throughout the Caribbean, Gulf of mexico and the US Atlantic Coast.

Lionfish Invasion (1985 – 2018) H/T USGS Wetlands and Aquatic Research Center, Matthew Neilson

With no natural predators to stem the growth and spread of lionfish, their populations have been exploding without resistance. Lionfish are voracious eaters. One lionfish can consume 20 fish in only a half hour. Furthermore, one female can spawn 27,000 to 100,000 eggs every 2.5 days which get carried by currents throughout the seas. It is easy to see how they can have a devastating effect on the marine food chain.

All existing, or should I say conventional efforts to control the lionfish population have been unsuccessful. However, there is a shimmer of promise in creating a demand for the consumption of lionfish. They actually tasted great and since we (humans) are known to over-fish and over-consume, perhaps it could work in this case to control the lionfish populations. As of now, it looks like that is our only hope.

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Read for more details here at usgs.gov

Images Source: usgs.org

 

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