Scourge of the Lionfish
Author: Carl Safina
Source: The New York Times
August 22, 2012
"About 20 years ago, one of the world’s most beautiful and otherworldly fish, the red lionfish, started showing up in south Florida and the Caribbean. Now, they’re a plague. Millions of them live from northeastern South America to New York, from water you can stand in down to depths of a thousand feet.
In a world where the main concern about fish is overfishing, and the main demand on fish is to feed an increasingly hungry human-dominated world, it may see odd to complain about abundance. But theirs is an abundance that produces widespread scarcity. That’s because invaders from afar often crowd out or gobble a wide array of desirable natives. And as an invading saltwater fish — the lion is king.
Lionfish are native to the west Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Red Sea; they’re quilled with venomous spines. The sting is not fatal, but from the descriptions I’ve heard of the pain, victims might wish it were. (Yesterday while working underwater with a scientist I got barely nicked through a glove; it produced an immediate sensation and a bump)."
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