Hugh Bollinger
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Lionfish, an update

Here at Riled Up we pay particular attention to the major environmental issue of invasive species, critters that come from one place to become a massive weed in another. Sadly, the number of invaders is long and growing. Besides all the ecological damages they cause, controlling invasive species is very expensive. A short list of plant and animal invaders would include: the 'frankenfish' carp in the Mississippi River; feral camels in outback Australia; salt cedar along western rivers; Burmese pythons in the Everglades: and the more recent lionfish attacking south Florida and Caribbean coral reefs. [caption id="attachment_7100" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Invasive lionfish (credit: NOAA)"][/caption] Like the freshwater carp, the marine lionfish are particular pernicious in their aggressive ability to invade new habitats, multiply rapidly, and devour everything in their path. Clever ideas about lionfish management have been proposed but more will need to be done if any sort of effective control is possible. Reports from New England indicate lionfish have now invaded waters far from their original tropical locales. So far, these first migrant lionfish haven't survived the cold New England winters. However, if a few happen to do so, evolution could produce a new, cold tolerant, sub-species of this invasive fish. Perhaps a New England fishing derby will be required someday where awards are given for the biggest, smallest, and most lionfish caught in a day. It might give a new meaning to the traditional downeaster fish-fry. WHB
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