Lionfish in Florida

Lionfish in Aquarium

Lionfish in Aquarium

Lionfish are now seen frequently in Florida waters. These beautiful fish are native to the Pacific and Indian Oceans. DNA evidence suggests that all lionfish here can be traced back to 6-8 female lionfish that were released into the Atlantic Ocean. The first reported lionfish in Florida waters was caught by a fisherman offshore Dania in October 1985. The next report was of 6 red lionfish seen swimming in Biscayne Bay shortly after Hurricane Andrew washed an aquarium off a seawall there in 1992. Since each female lionfish can lay up to 2 million eggs per year, their numbers can grow quickly! Fishermen are being encouraged to catch them, since they are non-native and unbalance the natural ecosystem. Many restaurant owners have now added lionfish to their menus (the meat is firm and white and tastes like grouper). If you catch a lionfish, don’t touch the spines – they are venomous and will sting you.

UPDATE July 2014:  It was recently reported that lionfish can survive in low salinity water and might impact freshwater ecosystems in Florida.  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a new app and link to submit lionfish sightings at:  http://myfwc.com/news/news-releases/2014/may/28/lionfish-app/

About Pam
Richard and Pam lived in the San Francisco Bay Area 14 years (1987-1999 and 2008-2011). They lived in Florida 13 years previously, until returning in July 2011 to present. They hope their photography will encourage you to get out and discover nature's beauty in your own backyard, parks, and wild places. Click on any pictures on this blog to see them full size with additional details.

5 Responses to Lionfish in Florida

  1. lauramacky says:

    I love those fish and this is a gorgeous photo of it!

  2. jbw0123 says:

    Thank you for alerting people about lion fish. I like your neutral presentation. I was introduced to lion fish as a danger to the ecosystem, and with a population probably hopelessly out of control, but you offer a reminder that they are a beautiful species, and many people are doing things to counteract the problems they pose.

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