Rare Catch Raises Concerns

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KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - A catch in St. Petersburg has biologists in the Florida Keys worried.

A lionfish was caught by a fisherman in Treasure Island in Pinellas County earlier this month. The fish is not native to Florida waters and it’s raising concerns about the invasive exotic tropical fish making its way to the Keys.

Dave Score with The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary says the concern is that the venomous fish can steal food and take over the area's reef fish.

Experts believe the recent sightings in Florida off the coasts of Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Palm Beach, Boca Raton and St. Petersburg are due to tropical fish aficionados releasing them in the water.

The research institute is conducting analyses to confirm that the fish was a new addition to the waters off St. Petersburg.