Lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles) are a venomous, spiny fish with a native habitat range in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and are an invasive species that threaten local reef systems throughout the Caribbean and along the southeastern seaboard of the United States.
They are popular with aquarium enthusiasts around the world and it is likely these fish were introduced to the Atlantic via the aquarium trade or ballast tanks of transoceanic vessels.
Lionfish are known to be highly territorial and can be found offshore or in estuaries. In Florida, lionfish have been found in all water depths; on hard bottom, mangrove, seagrass, coral, artificial reefs, oyster reefs, seawalls and other manmade structures.
Impacts on Martin County Reefs
Since lionfish are not native to Atlantic waters, they have very few predators. They are carnivores that feed on small crustaceans and fish, including the young of important commercial fish species such as snapper and grouper.
Lionfish will affect native fish populations and commercial fishing industries that are important to Martin County marine industries.
7th Annual Lionfish Round-Up
The 7th Annual Lionfish Round-Up in Martin County will be taking place on Saturday, June 3, 2017 and will benefit Sea-Life Habitat Improvement Project, Inc. (SHIP). SHIP supports artificial reefing projects on the Treasure Coast and is dedicated to creating a reef project that will provide a sustainable fishing and diving destination, as well as support endless marine research opportunities.
Registration to participate is required. Divers can register online by clicking the 'Registration' button. There will be a Mandatory Diver's Briefing and Kick Off Party at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 2, 2017 at Jupiter Pointe Marina, located at 18753 SE Federal Highway in Tequesta.
The Fish Tally & Awards Party begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at Jupiter Pointe Marina.
Proceeds will help to fund future artificial reefs in Martin County.