WUFT News

Lionfish population in Florida continues to grow

By on November 28th, 2012

Ben Bornstein / WUFT News

Lionfish lack a natural predator in Florida, leading to a large population increase that disturbs the state's ecosystem.

The lionfish has become a problem in Florida waters and the population is growing almost exponentially.

Dr. Tom Frazer, interim director of the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment, said the problem is due to the lionfish population’s lack of natural predators.

He said the absence of natural predators leads to the lionfish devouring large numbers of different fish populations prosperous for Florida fishermen. This can also lead to heavy ecological losses.

“(The concern) is that they prey on a lot of other organisms that are of value to Floridians, either commercially important fishes or ecologically important fishes or other organisms.”

The Fishing and Wildlife Commission has tried to remove lionfish, but the effort’s success is still unclear.

Matias Zaffke, owner of Gainesville’s Aquatropics, said selling the fish could help eradicate the infestation in the Caribbean and boost Florida’s economy as an added bonus.

Zaffke sells lionfish and warns his customers about the dangers of owning one.

They’re not one of the store’s more popular fish, but he does sell a fair amount each week.

Even though lionfish are a danger to other species indigenous to Florida, they’re mostly harmless to humans.

Their sting is similar to a wasp’s. They cannot kill anyone unless that person happens to be allergic — highly unlikely, according to Zaffke.


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

fruit drop

Citrus Greening Continues To Plague Florida Orange Groves

Described as one of the worst diseases to ever hit Florida orange groves, citrus greening is costing the state’s general fund $5.75 million. If the disease is not curbed it could be detrimental to Florida’s agriculture and economy.


Tri-State Group Unanimously Backs Plan For River System

Fifty-six people from Florida, Georgia and Alabama unanimously approved of a new sustainable water management plan. They issued their recommendations even as Florida sues Georgia, with Florida’s government arguing that too much water is being siphoned off upstream.


Doug Hornbeck walks with mourners through the woods during his mother’s funeral at Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery. Courtesy of Doug Hornbeck.

Florida Cemetery Offers Environmental Burial Options

North Central Florida Cemetery is the only cemetery in Florida that allows people to be buried on protected land. One of the cemetery’s focuses is being environmentally friendly.


Legislature Proposes Reallocating Amendment 1 Funds

The Florida Legislature has proposed spending money earmarked for conservation in other places. The legislature recommended spending between $8 to $10 million of the $750 million conservation funds on land buys.


This palm tree has yellow, dying leaves which is a symptom of potassium and magnesium deficiencies that was caused by fertilizing this palm with turf fertilizer. This is a very common problem in Florida landscapes and Broschat’s research has provided a way to prevent it. Photo courtesy of Tim Broschat

UF Professor Develops Fertilizer For Healthier Palms, Soil And Water

Tim Broschat, a University of Florida environmental horticulture professor, developed a palm fertilizer suitable for Florida’s soil that could also reduce water pollution during the summer. At this time, his fertilizer is only available for commercial landscapers.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments