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Lionfish in their native range, from the South Pacific to the Red Sea, are an important part of the coral reef ecosystem and population numbers are kept in check through natural processes.
However, they are non-native to the Atlantic ocean and have become established as a harmful invasive species in this region, posing a significant threat to local marine ecosystems due to widespread predation on native species, prolific reproduction, and lack of controlling predators. Humans must intervene to reduce their impact in the invaded waters, and our Invasive Lionfish collection exists to promote action and awareness on this issue.
Beginning in the 1980's, two visually identical species of lionfish (Pterois miles and Pterois volitans) were introduced into the Atlantic via the US aquarium trade and have become the first non-native marine fish to become established in the Atlantic. Over the past decade, invasive lionfish densities in these non-native areas have exploded, as they have been documented along the entire US East Coast from Florida through Massachusetts, east to Bermuda and south throughout the Caribbean. The expansion has been extremely rapid and exponential in scope.
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)’s Invasive Species Program has been at the forefront of the lionfish invasion since the arrival of the species in Florida in 2006, and 10% of profits from your purchase goes to this program. REEF’s efforts have included laying the groundwork for developing early detection and rapid response plans to mitigate the impacts, training resource managers and dive operators in effective collecting techniques, and conducting innovative research to better understand what has made Indo-Pacific lionfish the perfect invader.
REEF was founded in 1990 out of growing concern about the health of the marine environment, and the desire to provide the public ways to contribute to the understanding and protection of marine populations. Visit www.REEF.org to learn more.
Photo credit: Ned DeLoach