The Atlantic Invasion

Lionfish are a non-native fish species to the Caribbean Atlantic. So how did they get from the Indian Ocean all the way over to the Atlantic? Scientists believe aquarium owners released their pets into the wild after they outgrew their tanks. Soon the lionfish began reproducing at an alarming rate. They have no natural predators in the Atlantic, so they are almost never eaten once they are full grown. They have been here for only a short period of time and already have significant impact on local ecosystems.

Lionfish Animated Distribution Map



Watch the animated map of lionfish sightings as they occur. Photo credit: NOAA


Impact on Local Ecosystems


Scientists fear that the lionfish are going to continue to dominate the Atlantic ecosystem and eat many ecologically important fish that other fish feed on. Lionfish are going to replace native fish in this niche because no predators are eating them. This is especially problematic for people who depend on these native fish as food and money.


What is Being Done to Control the Lionfish Population


Organizations have recognized the rapid expansion of lionfish populations and the steep drop in native fish populations. REEF, NOAA, and NAS are some of the organizations leading this movement. They educate people on the importance of being able to safely remove these invasive species in an effort to control the population. This has been effective but has not been able to completely remove these fish. They also organize lionfish hunts, encourage restaurants to serve lionfish, set up effective ways to report and track the spread of the species


What you can do

Thanks to organizations like REEF, NOAA, and NAS reporting a lionfish sighting has never been easier. To report a sighting, click here to be forwarded to their site. Also, simply eat lionfish! Sounds easy enough, but you have to cook lionfish a certain way to neutralize the venom and avoid the spines. A video below shows how to safely prepare a lionfish.You can also compete in lionfish derbies where lionfish are over populated. It looks extremely fun and the winner often gets a cash prize.





 ~~~Lionfish Hunting ~~~How to cook ~~~short documentary




To read some interesting facts about P.miles click on the Facts page.