Hundreds of invasive lionfish removed from Gulf of Mexico
GALVESTON, Texas - Marine experts and trained volunteers have removed hundreds of lionfish from the Gulf of Mexico off Texas in a continuing effort to control the invasive population.
The Galveston County Daily News reported Thursday that the effort is meant to protect the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
In a four-day invitational from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, trained volunteer divers captured 317 lionfish. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued one-time, specialized permits for the spearfishing event.
Researchers say the lionfish can disrupt a reef's ecosystem by eating small reef fish, such as gobies and blennies, and juvenile groupers and snappers.
Healthy coral reefs have few algae, and if lionfish consume the fish populations that graze on the algae, then an algae bloom could occur on the reef.