Local News

Oct 28, 2013 10:22 PM by Caroline Flores - cflores@kristv.com

Lionfish Causing Concern

CORPUS CHRISTI - Marine biologists are pretty concerned about the growing number of Lionfish being caught or spotted here. When Lionfish move in they take over a marine environment by eating the native fish. To make things worse they also have venom that could pose a health risk to humans.

Marine biologists say the Lionfish can reek havoc where ever it goes. But it's a fish that was expected to show up in our Coastal Bend waters eventually.

"It was just a matter of time before they came to Corpus, and this year the first one was caught I think late Spring," said Jesse Gilbert with the Texas State Aquarium.

Gilbert says he knows of four Lionfish that have been caught in The Packery Channel. So he says if you are out fishing and happen to catch one, handle it carefully.

"Every spine on the dorsal part of the fish is venomous. And they contain a mild venom and so if you are punctured by them it envenomates you and it can hurt," said Gilbert.

If you happen to be allergic to them, he says the venom could prove fatal. But no matter what, he says if you do catch one do not throw it back in the water.

"Any invasive species you don't want to release. Certainly we're not going to eliminate the population, but one less is better," said Gilbert.

Lionfish have a huge appetite, and will eat anything they can fit in their mouths. So if you do release it back into the water, Gilbert says it could hurt our fishing economy.

"Right now there's nothing controlling their population so they can just decimate small populations of fish. So if they get into our estuaries here locally they could really have an impact on red drum or sea trout or snapper," said Gilbert.

To give our community more information about this species, this Sunday the Texas State Aquarium will host a workshop on the Lionfish. During the workshop, people can learn about the issues these fish cause, how to safely handle them, and even how to cook them.

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