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MARATHON, Florida -- Lionfish are invading, says a new Public Service Announcement released today by The Shifting Baselines Ocean Media Campaign – and there's something we can do about it – eat them.
Though comedic in nature, the new Lionfish PSA addresses a serious and growing problem. "These non-native fish are undergoing a population explosion, they are voracious predators, reproduce quickly, and threaten commercially important species, such as snapper and groupers. They have the potential to eat their way through and dramatically alter the ecosystem," said Dr. Steven Miller, Executive Producer of the PSA and a Research Professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
The Lionfish PSA presents a humorous vision of the future – a Caribbean restaurant in which the only fish left to serve are lionfish. The actors are from the world famous Groundlings Improv Comedy Theater. Their performance is capped off by veteran Disney animator Tom Sito who created an iconic lionfish cartoon for the project.
Lionfish are naturally found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but they began showing up in the Atlantic in the early 1990s and have now spread as far north as North Carolina as well as throughout the Caribbean and Florida, and were recently spotted in the Gulf of Mexico. In these waters they have no natural predators. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and environmental groups like REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation) have launched EAT LIONFISH campaigns. Lad Akins, of REEF, adds, "We know that in places where people actively remove lionfish that populations are significantly reduced. Developing the food-fishery has the potential to really help coral reefs and other marine habitats infested by the fish. And the fish taste really great, the meat is light, a real delicacy."
This fun PSA highlights the need to actively fish and eat lionfish – in this case it is the environmentally friendly and politically correct thing to do. The message is, if you see a lionfish off Florida, in the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico, help to thwart the invasion and dine with gusto.
To view and download the PSA and to learn more about the lionfish invasion, visit the lionfish PSA website at www.deathtolionfish.org.