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Lionfish

In less than a decade, the Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois miles and P. volitans) has become widely established along the Southeast U.S. and Caribbean. Lionfish are presently invading the Gulf of Mexico and South America. Recent estimates of lionfish densities indicate that lionfish have surpassed some native species with the highest estimates reporting over 1,000 lionfish per acre in some locations.

Lionfish are capable of permanently impacting native reef fish communities across multiple trophic levels. Lionfish occupy the same trophic position as economically important species (e.g., snapper and grouper) and may hamper stock rebuilding efforts and coral reef conservation measures. CCFHR first documented the establishment of Indo-Pacific lionfish in the Atlantic and is leading NOAA's efforts to study the lionfish invasion. NOAA is accomplishing its research missions on lionfish through strong collaborations with the Reef Environmental and Education Foundation (www.reef.org) and the United States Geological Survey (www.usgs.gov).

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