Invasive lionfish are disastrously out-breeding, out-living, out-eating and out-competing every other native fish in the Western Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. If left unchecked lionfish will ultimately cause the destruction of the reefs, native fish stocks and the livelihoods of everyone that depend upon them.
Lionfish, native to Pacific, Indian Oceans and the Red sea, have been on a destructive path for decades. The popular and venomous aquarium fish first got loose into the Atlantic Ocean in the mid-1980s. Now, the fish spans waters from the Caribbean to Rhode Island!
They devour important key species and commercial species, potentially spelling disaster for the health of our beautiful coral reefs and their inhabitants!
- Lionfish reach sexual maturity when 1 year of age and can live well beyond 15 years
- Female lionfish can release egg masses circa every 4 days, up to 2 million eggs a year
- Lionfish larvae have an incredibly high “recruitment rate” to suitable habitat, meaning that potentially more eggs become larvae, which then become juvenile lionfish settled somewhere that they can grow and live relatively free from environmental pressure.
- Lionfish have no natural predators in the Caribbean
- Lionfish can eat prey that is over half the size of their own body, providing it will fit into theirs mouths — That is like a human eating a whole sheep in one bite
- Lionfish can expand their mouths by up to 30 times its normal volume!
- Native species do not recognize Lionfish as a predator
- Scientists have demonstrated that a single Lionfish can reduce local marine creatures by 80-90% within its range in 5 days