Native to the Indo-Pacific, the numbers of the ornate lionfish along the mid-Atlantic seaboard were small in the mid-1980s, but have exploded in the last decade. The voracious predators, which can now be found in South American and Caribbean waters as well as the Gulf of Mexico, pose a significant threat to valuable native species such as grouper, snapper, and shrimp. Efforts have been made in some areas to control the fish by holding derbies, where divers and snorkelers spear or net as many fish as possible in a given time period. A new study published in Reviews in Fisheries Science reports how intense and consistent efforts are needed to effectively curb the lionfish population.
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