Invasion of the Lionfish

Invasion of the Lionfish 2017-11-18T03:20:14+00:00

Persuasion of this Invasion!

The lionfish invasion was first thought to have been caused when Hurricane Andrew destroyed a beachside aquarium in South Florida in 1992. But a recent report from NOAA ecologist, Dr. James A. Morris, Jr., reveals that a Lionfish was captured off the coast of Dania, Florida as far back as 1985.

Lionfish Invasion

Morris indicated this was more than likely caused by the release of fish and eggs into the wild by aquarium owners and people in the aquarium trade. DNA from captured lionfish in this region shows that all originated from the same six or seven fish. The Pterois volitans lionfish (or red lionfish) have been found in waters as far north as Long Island, New York, where as ‘tropical fish’ they would never be expected to survive, yet somehow they have.

Once established, they will destroy our reefs and throw the entire ecosystem out of balance. This change will threaten lobster, grouper, snapper, and many other mammals that call these waters their home. The effects will be devastating,” said Tom Jackson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Jackson’s job is to track invasive species and creatures that can sometimes change and destroy a vital ecosystem. His personal opinion is that it would be best to ban the sale of lionfish all together. “In 2003 alone, nearly 8,000 lionfish were imported to the Tampa area, but it only takes 15 or 20 released into one area to create a population,” said Jackson.

Volunteer divers are being recruited to help stop the invasion of this species into our South Florida waters, but these divers will require additional training, and this training requires additional funding.

You can help us.  Here’s how:

There are several ways that you can help control the lionfish population in South Florida.


If you have observed lionfish, please use our Report Form to help us record your findings.



Learn about proper observation, handling and cleaning procedures, and browse recipes.



Experienced divers, help us protect our precious South Florida coral reef ecosystem.



Educate others about the lionfish invasion.  Share our website with your friends.