September 25, 2008

Scientists Take Aim at Lionfish

U.S. scientists are looking at ways to control lionfish that are making themselves at home along the South Atlantic seaboard.

The Pacific Ocean native is considered the perfect predator in the Atlantic Ocean because it has no known enemies and a voracious appetite, the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported Wednesday. Scientists said a reappearance of the fish off West Palm Beach has ignited fears of a full-scale invasion that could decimate populations of smaller fish.

Lisa Mitchell of the Reef Environmental Education Foundation said her group is trying to train fishermen and restaurant workers in the Caribbean to catch and serve the fish, and encouraging lionfish charters for tourists, the newspaper said.