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.

Lionfish visit Georgia Aquarium
Lionfish visit Georgia Aquarium

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.

Lionfish Transfer to Georgia Aquarium for Educational Exhibit

I spy… lionfish in Georgia?!?Next time you are visiting the Georgia Aquarium, you may spy some lionfish that came from Florida. First, we worked with partners to harvest invasive lionfish. Watch as experts from Georgia Aquarium wrangle some of these nonnative fish into their special tank before they head back to Atlanta to set up a new educational tank in the Aquarium! Thanks to Sarah Peake, senior aquarist for the Georgia Aquarium; Mark Olsen, associate curator, acquisitions and quarantine for the Georgia Aquarium; and Alex Fogg, marine resource coordinator for Destin – Fort Walton Beach. See photos: to fillet a #lionfish VIDEO:

Posted by MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife on Monday, January 27, 2020