The first report of lionfish in the Gulf of Mexico came two years ago. Compared to the first sighting over twenty years ago in the Atlantic Ocean, the lionfish’s arrival is relatively new. Theories of how the invasive species ended up in Florida’s waters include a mix of once unwanted pets being released and escaping aquariums during Hurricane Andrew. But whatever the case may be, now the invasive species has reached high enough numbers to raise concerns.
‘To give you an idea of how productive they are, for everyone one baby palmetto bug, you can have ten baby lionfish.’ Says Biologist Tom Jackson with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Miami.