Native to the Indo-Pacific, lionfish have gained notoriety in recent years for becoming an invasive species in the southeastern U.S., Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Scientists believe the “invasion” of these fish into our waters was spurred by the release of lionfish pets.
Popular in the home aquarium trade, lionfish often outgrow their tanks and will sometimes prey on other fish. Once released into the Atlantic, lionfish thrive. They eat native fish and crustaceans, destroy habitats and have no real natural predators. With an average spawn rate of close to 2 million eggs per year, this species shows no signs of disappearing on its own.
Conservationists encourage the safe consumption of lionfish to help lower the number of invasives in our local habitats.