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Lionfish Threatens Fishing Industry
Aug 11, 2007 - 10:44:38 AM

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Though victims of lionfish stings have said the burning sensation can be so intense that they feel like dying, the venom isn't known to be fatal. What's really troubling Purdy and fellow researchers is the effect that the invasive species could have on the fragile ecologies of Caribbean reefs and the commercial fishing industry.

Lionfish have been found along the Eastern United States for at least a decade. Some research puts the first Florida sighting in the mid-80s. But the research group REEF, of which Purdy's company Blackbeard Cruises is a member, hadn't spotted the versatile predators, with no known enemies in Bahamian waters, until three years ago.

Since 2004, REEF (an acronym for reef environment education foundation) has witnessed a 500-fold explosion in the local lionfish population, and there's no telling how much damage the voracious predators might do.

Though researchers differ on the extent to which lionfish will affect the overall commercial fishing and diving operations in The Bahamas, Purdy wants to sound alarms now, before things have a chance to get any worse.  For full details read the entire Nassau Guardian article HERE.

The lion-fish belongs to the Scorpion fish family. This brightly coloured fish is usually found in coral reefs, especially in shallow waters hovering in caves or near crevices. Lion-fish have venomous fin spines that can produce painful puncture wounds. Fatalities, however, are rare.


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