Each invasive Lionfish used contributes to protecting up to 70,000 native reef fish. It also protects the livelihoods of over 40 million people who make their living from coral reefs.
Lionfish, native to the Pacific Ocean, are an invasive species introduced to the Atlantic a few decades ago, also by the exotic pet industry. They have quickly spread throughout the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mediterranean, destroying native fish populations and coral reefs.
Invasive Lionfish consume over 50 species of fish, including the smaller fish and invertebrates that normally keep algae in check on coral reefs. This ruins their ecological balance and causes the reefs to die. Just one invasive destructive Lionfish consumes 70,000 native reef fish in its lifetime. And they lay 15,000 eggs, every four days. Invasive Lionfish are out-competing every other native fish in the water. If left unchecked, lionfish will ultimately destroy the reefs, native fish stocks and the livelihoods of everyone that depend upon them.
At this point, scientists think they’re impossible to stop. But we can at least slow them down. Fortunately, lionfish are edible and delicious. So, as word spreads, they will hopefully become a common site on menus around the world. And their skins are being adopted by the fashion industry as a beautiful, durable exotic leather.