Special August Update: Florida Bans the Sale of Lionfish
News came out last month that the State of Florida has passed one of the first bans on the sale of an ornamental aquarium fish the country has seen in years. The lionfish is an invasive species to Florida and all of the Atlantic Ocean that has wreaked havoc on the local ecosystem, as it has a voracious appetite and no natural predator. It can grow over a foot long, has a long lifespan, has no natural predators in the area, and can eat any fish it can fit into its mouth.
It is widely thought these fish were dumped in the ocean by aquarists who had their pets outgrow their aquarium, and this is quite likely so. Being in Chicago, we don’t face the potential for this as much – most freshwater fish are tropical and wouldn’t last through our winters, and saltwater fish are, well, saltwater. However Chicago and Northern Illinois still face their own problems, such as the zebra mussels brought in by shipping liners through the Great Lakes, and now asian carp threatening the Chicago River.
It simply goes to say the crossover from aquarium to nature needs to be carefully respected and we all need to use common sense. If it doesn’t seem right, think of your area’s system and don’t do it. Incidentally, this leads into our next topic in this month’s newsletter, “The Ten Stupidest Fish For Your Saltwater Aquarium”.