Predatory fish in Florida

Lion Fish are spreading!!!

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is very concern about the Lion Fish invasion in the Florida waters. This predatory fish called the Lion Fish has become established in marine waters of the southeastern United States and Caribbean, and may spell trouble for many marine fish. The precise date and year that the Lion Fish was first seen in the Florida waters is not clear but one thing is sure, since the early 1990’s the Lion Fish populations have increased since then, and the species has been spotted as far north as the waters off Rhode Island in the Atlantic and in the warmer Gulf waters off Louisiana.

Also not sure if this invasive species was originally introduced in marine waters through the aquarium industry, the fact remains that it has arrived and is here to stay. Since then the Lion Fish have become established on the United States East Coast and have expanded throughout the Caribbean. Scientists believe that Lion Fish juveniles are carried by ocean currents and this ends up affecting other countries. The colorful predatory fish, which is native to Indo-Pacific waters, gets 12 to 15 inches long and has a high reproductive potential. The females can spawn several times per month and release up to 30, 000 eggs every four days per spawn. As Lion Fish grow, they switch their diet from invertebrates to fish, and this is where it becomes a major concern for islands like Aruba. The Lion Fish eats native fish and are competing with native predatory fish such as groupers and snappers. The Lion Fish also has a negative impact on overall reef habitat, since they feed on herbivorous fish that keep the algae in check on the reefs such as juvenile parrot fishes, tangs or surgeon fishes. The Aruba Marine Park Foundation has been involved since mid 2010 with the national control plan for the Lion Fish. According to the foundation, the best thing to do right now is to remove this fish as much as possible from the waters around Aruba. The problem is becoming bigger because not only does the Lion Fish spawn locally, but from the Venezuelan peninsula of Paraguana, which is only 6 miles to the south of Aruba and from Curaçao 56 miles east of Aruba the Lion Fish larvae or juveniles can travel with ocean currents to Aruba, there for adding to the problem. The Aruba Marine Park Foundation has organized a Lion Fish derby in March of 2011 because of the increasing numbers of this invasive species but this just showed that this fish is becoming more and more visible everywhere around the island. With the recent numbers surveyed on the island of Curaçao, it is estimated that with a good culling program on the sister island; they would be able to remove approximately 100, 000 Lion Fish per month. In Florida during one tournament 531 Lion Fish were removed in one day. This is also proof that this is the only effective way to control the spread. Experiments with groupers and green morays feeding on the Lion Fish are encouraging but removal by massive numbers is the way to go. Lionfish have venomous glands in their dorsal, pelvic and anal spines. They should never be handled with a bare hand.


Impact of spear fishing on the abundance of large predatory coral reef fishes
Book (The University)

Do we really want to save it?

2008-09-23 06:43:39 by oikos

The article does not mention that the sea lamprey is not a native fish and that salmon were existing quite nicely without them, seals and sea lions notwithstanding. Further the article glosses over the fact that the adult sea lamprey is parasitic/predatory (the definition breaks down with them) on the adult salmon, negating the supposed benefit of providing alternate prey for the pinnipeds. There are, however, non-parasitic lampreys that would provide the benefits without the drawbacks.


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