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Lionfish Spread in the Caribbean: "A Looming Crisis”

Their numbers continue to expand. They are spreading throughout the Caribbean Sea. Eradication appears almost impossible. It is very difficult to control them and right now the best available plan is to capture and eat them. [caption id="attachment_4227" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Red Lionfish. Photo Credit: Wikipedia “This is a new and voracious predator on these coral reefs and it’s undergoing a population explosion,” said Mark Hixon, an OSU professor of zoology, expert on coral reef ecology and leader of the research effort. “The threats to coral reefs all over the world were already extreme, and they now have to deal with this alien predator in the Atlantic. Lionfish eat many other species and they seem to eat constantly.” “ Native fish literally don’t know what hit them .”  OSU research has already determined that within a short period after the entry of lionfish into an area, the survival of small reef fishes is slashed by about 80 percent. Lionfish have virtually no natural enemies in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. Whatever is keeping them in check in the Pacific – and scientists are trying to find out what that is – is missing here. In the Caribbean, they are found at different depths, in various terrains. They are ignored by local predators and parasites and they eat very fast their way through entire ecosystems. A primary concern, according to local experts, is the...
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