(GULF SHORES, Ala.) The discovery of Lionfish closer to shore along the Gulf is not a good sign say local marine biologists. The Lionfish is a non-native poisonous fish that could end up eating other species. Most had been housed mainly in fish tanks as pets and are native to the Pacific Ocean. Several dozen Lionfish have been caught in local waters recently.
Wanted dead or alive state conservation officials ask that you turn them over if you find one.
"This is a local specimen found off shore in the Gulf off Alabama. It was found 8 to 10 miles offshore and we have been asking the public especially if they come across some. Those that are diving a better chance of collecting them at this point," said State Biologist Kevin Anson.
Zack Olmstead who fishes for fun says the Lionfish could ruin things for a lot of folks.
"If there's nothing out here to control their population they will continue growing and continuously eating possibly diminishing what we are out here to catch," said Local Fisherman Zack Olmstead.
It's exactly why biologists say tracking the Lionfish is so important.
"We can cut open the guts and see what kind of species they are eating. To see what preferences they have of one species over another species," said Anson. What they eat and how they travel and understanding their breeding patterns are only the beginning now that some have been found near shore.
"One female can produce up to 2 million eggs per year and she spawns several times within a month. Those numbers are pretty mind boggling and staggering," said Anson.
The U.S. Geological Survey tracks the findings and has them posted on their website. We've created a link click on the Find It section at Local 15tv.com
There are also several agencies that will take samples. The Alabama Conservation provided the following website : http://nas.er.usgs.gov/sightingreport.aspx or you can call 1-877-STOP-ANS