Four years ago, lobster fisherman Gary Nichols had never laid eyes on a lionfish, but today his traps are full of them.
“You’ll get two or three decent traps with lobster, but if you get four or five lionfish, the lobster don’t like it,” Nichols said.
He says he catches so many lionfish now (up to 200 pounds every day) that he’s started to sell them. But where his lobsters sell for $16 per kilogram, lionfish only make him $12.
Lionfish are causing a huge strain on his business and the wider commercial fishing industry in Florida, devouring other fish populations — in some cases reducing them by up to 90%.