The Problem with Lionfish

Pretty but deadly to native aquatic species.

Pretty but deadly to native aquatic species.

This is Passport to Texas

The lionfish, native to the Pacific Ocean, is a common species in the aquarium trade.

But a couple of them have gotten loose

Leslie Hartman—Matagorda Bay Program Leader—says lionfish wasted no time getting busy making more of their kind.

They get to reproductive age in one year. They breed every four days. They can be found in an inch of water. They can be found in 12-hunderd feet of water. These guys are really super successful. And they’re Americanized. They’re willing to eat past the point when they’re full, until they get fat.

And what they eat are native marine species.

We’re really concerned about how many of our fish, shrimp and crabs their eating. In the Caribbean—and they’ve been there quite a number of years before us—a single Lionfish on a little coral reef, consumed 80% of that season’s young.

Because of their voracious appetites, their reproductive prowess, and the fact that they haven’t any predators…

We’re really concerned long term for the effect it’s going to have on all of our fisheries. Whether it’s the commercial shrimp and blue crab, whether it’s the recreational snapper, redfish, trout—we just know we need to be concerned.

Tomorrow Leslie Hartman tells us about what’s being done to prevent lionfish from becoming a problem in Texas.

The Sport fish restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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