Testing traps to control lovely but destructive lionfish

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The quest is on for a better way to kill beautiful but brutally destructive lionfish than shooting them one by one with spearguns. The voracious invaders with huge appetites, flashy stripes and a mane of venomous spines are a problem in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast almost to Virginia. They’ve also recently infested parts of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. With few natural predators, they eat native fish and compete for food. Scientists are looking at two kinds of traps as a way to control the fish outside their native South Pacific and Indian oceans. One is a lobster trap with an entry too skinny for legal lobsters. The other is wildly different, using a vertical sheet of lattice as a lure. “We don’t think we’ll ever eliminate them but if we can get them under control maybe we can get our ecosystem back,” said Thomas R. Matthews, research administrator for Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. One Florida fisher is setting out the modified lobster traps, and scientists with the institute hope to recruit up to five more. There also are plans to get lobster fishers to try out […]

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