Lionfish Found Off Pensacola Beach Threatens Florida

By: AP
By: AP

Pensacola Beach, Florida (AP) --

A lionfish captured on a reef off Pensacola Beach is igniting fears of a possible threat to swimmers and local fishermen.

A 6-inch lionfish was captured Sept. 9 off the coast of
northwest Florida. Another one was found in the eastern Gulf of
Mexico, and there have been other undocumented sightings.

Wildlife officials fear the beautiful yet venomous fish could be
rapidly spreading and its population could explode.

Environmental administrator Jon Dodrill says the biggest concern
is the lionfish will destroy recreational and commercial fish
populations. If they show up closer to shore, inexperienced divers
could run into one.

There are no major predators or diseases to control their
population. But Dodrill says the fish are tasty, so maybe that can
help control their numbers.

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