Already, Red Lionfish have shown exponential growth while decimating the fishing industries wherever they have appeared. While not lethal to humans, their barbs or spines are poisonous and can cause us nasty wounds. Red Lionfish, unlike most native species, also reproduce year round and have few parasites, giving them a double advantage over the rest of their new eco-systems' fauna.
Lionfish removal programs, the physical capturing, extraction, and killing of individual fish, are being attempted wherever they are found, but their spread is annually exceeding this effort by large numbers. Volunteer divers are being enlisted for this work. Many more are needed.
One potential solution or adaptation to the mushrooming Red Lionfish presence in Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico waters is to encourage their use as a staple food source. They are, for instance, widely eaten by Asian peoples, just not yet recognized as an edible commodity here, since their vastly increasing numbers in the West have only been noted in the past couple years.
-Lionfish Research Program at reef.org; July-August, 2009.
-Lionfish Arrive in the Florida Keys at reef.org; January 12, 2009.
-The Bahamas - Stopping the Lionfish. Arathi Sundaravadanan in The Nature Conservancy; August 5, 2009.
-Lionfish Biology Fact Sheet at Lionfish Invasion - NOAA Ocean Service Education; February 4, 2008.