Lionfish Attacking Atlantic Ocean Like A Living Oil Spill

Posted: April 18, 2013  |  By: Elizabeth Shogren [NPR]

A gluttonous predator is power-eating its way through reefs from New York to Venezuela. It's the lionfish.

And although researchers are coming up with new ways to protect some reefs from the flamboyant maroon-striped fish, they have no hope of stopping its unparalleled invasion.

Lad Akins has scuba dived in the vibrant reefs of the Bahamas for many years. But when he returned a couple years ago, he saw almost no fish smaller than his hand.

"Seeing the lack of small reef fish that used to inhabit those sites was very startling to me," says Akins, the director of special projects at Reef Environmental Education Foundation, a conservation group for scuba divers.

The lionfish are native to the coral reefs of the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

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