Last month several lucky lionfish were selected from the northern Gulf of Mexico for the exciting opportunity of a working sabbatical to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA. Despite being a tasty & delicious food source, these intrepid invaders were spared the 3-prong harpoon and were instead netted and live captured for their upcoming sojourn. Employees of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission partnered with staff from the Georgia Aquarium to collect the visiting dignitaries and escort them to their new home in the Peach State. Accommodations for their journey were first class in a spacious aerated tank painted a soothing aqua green color to calm the nerves.
Now millions of visitors to one of the greatest aquariums in the US will have the chance to see these beautiful but problematic invasive species in all their fire-finned glory. We expect the beauty of the lionfish to capture the attention of visitors to the aquarium, which should inspire curiosity to learn more. As always with invasive species, education is the key to limiting future invasions. The number one lesson we always try to teach is to ‘never release your pets into the wild’. Click here to learn more about why lionfish are a problem, here for why we hunt them by spearfishing, and here for more information on how to get started hunting lionfish.