Although the predators in case of the Caribbean are known to be barracudas and sharks, it looks like the small lionfish are able to out-eat them, as the lionfish population increased considerably in the past period. Since nature seems unable to control the lionfish population, it looks like the best solution is for humans to intervene to maintain balance in the ocean.
Specialists say that the lionfish are there to stay and there is no other way to get rid of them but to fish them. In the past period several studies have been conducted to measure the impact that the lionfish population has over the ecosystem of the region.
What’s the lionfish like?
The species originates from and Indo-Pacific region and in our days they are popular as pets because of their striking stripes. It is known that they have venomous spines which make it difficult for predators to catch them. If the spines are removed, it is safe to eat the fish.
Threat to the wildlife
The fish made big news in the marine world as they are threating the population of the ocean. Specialists say that about 10 years ago lion fish was considered a mysterious fish and it was rarely seen. In our days they can be seen in groups of ten or even more around the reefs.
Controlling the population
An international team of researchers studied whether sharks or other predators would be able to take control of the situation. The options include having the predators eat them or compete with them for their prey. They also wanted to check whether the decreasing population of predators contributed to the outgrowth of the lionfish population.
There were 71 reefs surveyed in different regions of the Caribbean. The researchers reached the conclusion that there is no connection between the predators and the size of the lionfish population whatsoever. The native predators do not influence the number of lionfish in a given area.
The study found that the number of lionfish is lower in the protected reefs. This means that their number is controlled by the reef managers instead of the native predators. In those areas where the lionfish are removed on a daily basis, their number is more manageable than in the sites were no action is taken.
According to the researchers, it would be wise to populate these areas with native predators to decrease the number of the lionfish in a natural way.