Dive Footage Shines Light on the Magnitude of the Lionfish InvasionBy: Brandon Klaus
The lionfish invasion currently ongoing in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico shouldn’t come as news to anyone these days, but the sheer numbers of the non-native predator most likely will. While wildlife organizations are constantly preaching about the population explosion, it’s hard for the general public to get a grasp on what’s really going on because they don’t dive the waters every day. To help convey just how serious the invasion is, a dive group has recently uploaded a video of a trip to Aruba that is, for lack of a better word, shocking. The lionfish can be spotted all over the reefs, and it doesn’t take a working knowledge of the Spanish language to understand the message that is being conveyed.
Throughout the video, the lionfish are shown to be congregating in huge numbers around busy spots on the reefs. They can be seen hunting, hiding, and mingling comfortable in their non-native habitat, and they seem to show no fear of larger fish or even spear fisherman. Fortunately, the divers are not just filming, as they are instilling a bit of fear in the fish with the help of some well placed spears.
Year in and year out, authorities in Florida and others affected communities hold fishing tournaments to help cull large numbers of the fish. There are typically no rules for the catch, usually accepting any means necessary to remove the lionfish. Unfortunately, these fishing excursions don’t seem to be solving the problem, and perhaps they aren’t designed to do so, but instead only hope to keep the numbers manageable. Regardless, the fish are highly invasive and this video effectively conveys that message.