Beware the Lionfish

Beware the Lionfish

davybackDavy Canupp

Davy is a founding editor of Huntsville Outdoors.  He hikes, he paddles, he bikes, he imbibes. He's been four feet from a grizzly bear and he's held an alligator. He's probably the coolest guy you don't know.

We've been happy to report recently on multiple species of wildlife now making a home in Alabama. This morning however, the news tells us about the arrival of a species we'd rather not see living here. Apparently State biologists have now confirmed that the Lionfish has arrived near Alabama's Gulf Coast beaches, and we have photographic evidence of one that was killed at Perdido Pass in Orange Beach, Alabama.

The Lionfish is an awesome marine species, don't get me wrong. When I used to maintain a saltwater aquarium, I always marveled at the fish, with its Tiger-like stripes and long, poisonous spines.  But the principal reason I never kept one in my tank is that they are potentially deadly if you come into contact with them; which is precisely why State biologists are very concerned with their arrival on Alabama's sandy shores.

There's another reason to fret the arrival of the Lionfish: these are a Pacific Ocean species that has inexplicably would up in Gulf Coast waters. They are now reportedly decimating the population of reef fish off Alabama's coast, as they have no natural predators here. Not to mention scaring swimmers and fishermen.

There is one upside, though: Lionfish are reportedly quite tasty (if you can manage to clean them without a trip to the hospital), and in fact the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration a few years back launched a campaign to convince people to consume these invasive fish. Mmmm, prickly.

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