The presence of Lionfish is causing an already unhealthy coral reef community in the Gulf of Mexico to become even worse. The ultra aggressive Lionfish is a popular aquarium species native to the Indo-Pacific. Introduced to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, they will eat just about any smaller fish, many of which are important to keeping the coral itself clean and healthy. In their native areas, there are species like the Bobbit Worm that prey on juvenile Lionfish, and help keep the population in control. In areas that they are not native too, Lionfish have few natural predators. This, along with the nutrient rich waters of the Atlantic Ocean, is causing their population to grow which in return is leading to the numbers of young reef fish that are important to keeping the coral reef communities healthy, to decline.
Coral Reef’s need our protection and I for one am open to anything that will help. There have been many different Lionfish population control measurements initiated, both through local communities and larger organizations like NOAA. A campaign “Lionfish as Food” was formed in 2010 to encourage people to hunt the species which when properly cleaned, can be a great meal. Our friends over at Gink and Gasoline put together a fun piece on how to make a tasty Lionfish Ceviche. Local communities have also started sell things like jewelry made from colorful Lionfish spikes, which in return encourages more spear divers to hunt for them.
Another interesting solution could be to take advantage of the Lionfish’s aggressiveness using a decoy and a trap. It sounds silly but might be a very viable solution to keeping the species population in check. Could a Lionfish decoy help control the population of this invasive species? Check out the video below and let’s get some more decoys ordered.
NOTE: If you’re viewing this in a newsletter or a reader, click here to see the video on our website.
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