1) Voracious predators being shown to eat native fish and crustaceans in large quantities, including both ecologically and economically important species like grunts, snapper, nassau grouper, and cleaner shrimp
2) Not known to have any native predators
3) Equipped with venomous dorsal, ventral and anal spines, which deter predators and can cause painful wounds to humans
4) Capable of reproducing year-round with unique reproduction mechanisms not commonly found in native fishes (females can reproduce every 4 days!)
5) Relatively resistant to parasites, giving them another advantage over native species
6) Fast in their growth, able to outgrow native species with whom they compete for food and space
Non-native marine fishes can pose a major threat to marine fisheries, habitats, and eco-system function. Increased reports of non-native species and the successful invasion of lionfish in Atlantic waters have proven the need for early warning and rapid response to confirmed sightings. The Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), has been working with Federal, State, and local partners as well as divers and dive operators, public aquaria, and foreign fisheries departments to enact rapid response protocol and removals and to assist with scientific investigations related to non-native marine species.
Indo-pacific Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans) have been documented along the entire US East Coast from Florida through Massachusetts, east to Bermuda and south throughout the Caribbean. The expansion has been extremely rapid and exponential in scope.
How YOU can help!
If you see or capture an invasive lionfish, please report your encounter in the Reef Environmental Education Foundation Exotic Species Sighting Form.
If you are conducting a REEF survey and encounter a lionfish (or any non-native species), please report the species as a write in species on the back of the REEF scansheet. Whenever possible, please include an extra sheet of paper with extended details about habitat the fish was in, behaviors noted, other species it associated with, and approximate size. Also indicate if you have photo/video of the fish. Be sure to enter this information when entering your survey data onto the websit and please report your sighting through our exotic species online reporting form as well.
Participate in a REEF Lionfish Research Trip.
Attend a Lionfish Workshop for more information and to obtain a permit to collect lionfish in the SPAs.
Sign up for a Lionfish Derby to remove lionfish from the reefs while entering to win great prizes.
Ask for lionfish at your local restaurant. (see who's serving here)
Content copyright . OCEANREEFCONSERVATIONASSOCIATION.ORG. All rights reserved.