LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Lionfish are beautiful and graceful but not such a delight for southwest Florida's reefs. A recent study shows that the invasive Lionfish can kill three-quarters of a reef's fish population in just five weeks.
Lionfish are not native to southwest Florida, and this could mean serious consequences for our estuaries, explains News-Press partner Kevin Lollar.
Lollar has seen the impacts of Lionfish firsthand. He explains that in the Bahamas, Lionfish have all but taken over reefs. Like sharks, they're at the top of the food chain, because they have few if any predators.
Because of their invasive nature, killing Lionfish is actually encouraged! But doing so must be done with care because of their venomous barbs. Lollar uses a spear gun and wears thick gloves when cleaning the fish.
Lionfish are considered a delicacy in many countries, and according to Lollar have a nice taste. He suggests sautéing the filets in butter and garlic.
For more information on the unwelcome visitors, check out Lollar's News-Press article Lionfish:Not on my Reef!
Researchers are exploring another foreign species in the area: Asian Green Mussels. Next Sunday, Kevin and Katie will discuss the pros and cons of these non-native shellfish on our ecosystem.