66% Drop in Population of Invasive Lionfish due to Overfishing
The National Environment and Planning Agency in Jamaica reported 66% drop in population of invasive lionfish. Earlier, fishermen were scared of catching lionfish because of poisonous spines on the fish which can deliver extremely powerful sting. Also, lionfish were known to cause havoc to reefs and local eco-systems by eating native fish thus destroying stocks of other fish populations.
But, this destructive nature of the lionfish forced fishermen to learn new ways to catch the fish and bring them to market. The strong and keen dedication of fishermen towards catching of lionfish resulted in drop of lionfish population below than expected level.
Dayne Buddo, a Jamaican marine ecologist, said fishing shops also started organizing contests to see who can capture greatest numbers of lionfish. A campaign was also been organized by the U. S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with a motto, 'eat sustainable, eat lionfish!', to wipe out population of these species. These all steps resulted in increased appetite of people for the fish, reducing population of the invasive species.
Despite of adverse impacts of reducing lionfish population, it also showed some benefits. Researchers from Oregon State University said that drop in 75% to 95% of lionfish population have helped in increasing numbers of native species of fish.
"I don't think we'll ever get rid of it, but I think we can control it in marine protected areas", said Buddo.