Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Delicious' invader: More fishing, higher consumption might help reverse lionfish invasion

Date:
August 9, 2010
Source:
NOAA
Summary:
A new study looking at how to curb the rapid growth of lionfish, an invasive species not native to the Atlantic Ocean, suggests that approximately 27 percent of mature lionfish will have to be removed monthly for one year to reduce its population growth rate to zero.

Lionfish.
Credit: NOAA

A new study looking at how to curb the rapid growth of lionfish, an invasive species not native to the Atlantic Ocean, suggests that approximately 27 percent of mature lionfish will have to be removed monthly for one year to reduce its population growth rate to zero.

But the good news is that the invasive fish happens to be delicious -- and NOAA is encouraging chefs to find new ways to introduce it to U.S. consumers.

Lionfish are native to the western and central Pacific Ocean, but have established themselves from North Carolina to South America. They are a popular aquarium fish that were likely first released in Florida waters in the mid-1980s. Since then, the species has spread rapidly. Scientists and public officials are seriously concerned at the effect lionfish are having on reef ecosystems, since this predator is capable of rapid population growth and outcompeting native fish for food and territory.

"This study offers us the first target for fishing and other local control efforts such as lionfish derbies," says Lad Akins, director of operations for the Reef Environmental and Education Foundation, an organization of divers and marine enthusiasts who are working to combat the lionfish problem.

The effort to fish down the species has already begun. Caribbean nations such as the Turks and Caicos Islands are encouraging widespread fishing for lionfish by instituting year-long tournaments with cash prizes for the most lionfish caught.

Authorities are also encouraging a local market for the species, whose delicate white flesh tastes similar to a snapper or grouper. NOAA scientists concur that developing a market for lionfish is one of the only ways to substantially reduce their numbers. To this end, NOAA has developed an "Eat Lionfish" campaign that brings together fishing communities, wholesalers, and chefs in an effort to broaden U.S. consumers' awareness of this delicious invader.

While the study represents a significant step forward in understanding how to turn the tide of the invasion, the study's authors warn that more work is needed to understand the ecological effects of lionfish, track the population, and develop control strategies.

"Lionfish represent the first reef fish invader to become established in the Atlantic, but as we know from history, invasive species are a persistent problem," says Dr. James Morris, a marine ecologist with NOAA's Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research. "Understanding the factors involved in the spread of lionfish may help us be better prepared for future invasions."

The study's recommendation of a 27 percent monthly reduction represents a major fishing effort which may not be feasible in some areas, such as the expansive areas where lionfish have become established off the southeast U.S. coast, but which may be possible in areas where lionfish habitat is more constrained.

The study, a collaboration between scientists from NOAA and North Carolina State University, can be found in the June 2010 issue of Biological Invasions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NOAA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James A. Morris, Kyle W. Shertzer, James A. Rice. A stage-based matrix population model of invasive lionfish with implications for control. Biological Invasions, 2010; DOI: 10.1007/s10530-010-9786-8

Cite This Page:

NOAA. "'Delicious' invader: More fishing, higher consumption might help reverse lionfish invasion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100807205021.htm>.
NOAA. (2010, August 9). 'Delicious' invader: More fishing, higher consumption might help reverse lionfish invasion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100807205021.htm
NOAA. "'Delicious' invader: More fishing, higher consumption might help reverse lionfish invasion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100807205021.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins