We here in Michigan have been concerned about the Asian Carp invading the Great Lakes, and rightfully given the recent reports that the Grass Carp (not the worst of the Asian Carp) is breeding in Lake Erie.
However, an even worse invasive species problem is reported to be growing (and growing fast) in the waters off Florida and Bermuda – the Lionfish. The NOAA reports that there are large populations of lionfish detected in the Atlantic. These fish are native to the Indian Ocean and have no natural predators here. They eat massive amounts of fish (who don’t recognize the lionfish as a predator), they multiply in large numbers (one female can lay up to 2 million eggs per year!), they tend to stay near the ocean floorand are hard to catch and they have poisonous spines to protect themselves. In short, it’s a perfect storm for an invasive species. One organization is predicting an enormous swath of the Gulf of Mexico and the shores of North and South America will be decimated by this fish.
While studies go on, there has been a concerted effort to catch and serve these fish for food in Florida restaurants. If you’re looking for a recipe – you might want to try this site which promotes humanity’s role at the top of the food chain to combat invasive species.
This situation reflects how the Great Lakes are not alone in fighting invasive species which can impact both our ecology and our economy.