Invasive Lionfish Now Found at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Potentially Impacting Ecology and Management
The invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans), a native to the Indo-Pacific, has continued its expansion along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and has now been found farther inshore in Georgia waters than previously observed. Two adult size individuals were observed September 23 and 24 during bottom surveys at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary (GRNMS) located on the inner continental shelf. The lionfish is believed to be a newcomer to GRNMS and had not previously been found there as documented by thorough fish census activities conducted in recent years. Found by scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science while conducting marine debris surveys, the occurrence of these fish will be assessed quarterly along with marine debris.