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LIONFISH ¥IF YOU SEE IT, REPORT IT! We are facing a serious problem and you can help us by protecting the reefs from the presence of the lionfish in the Mexican Caribbean waters. They are native to the Indian and western Pacific Oceans, and are now an invasive species found in warm waters. Unfortunately, in January 2009 we received the first lionfish in Cozumel Island and they have currently expanding throughout the coast and islands of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. What kind of problems do they generate? The lionfish is extremely harmful for the natural environment and to the fish market due to fact that they feed from other fish and crustaceans, such as shrimp and reef fishes. It is a territorial organism that removes the native species and it reproduces every four days throughout the year, laying from 15 to 30 thousand eggs. The Caribbean ocean has no natural predators for the lion fish. Do you know what it looks like? This is an impressively ornate fish whose body is white or cream color; covered in red, brown, black or white stripes. Two lumpy tentacles project from above the eyes. The fins are tipped with long, feather-like spines that resemble crinoids. A fullgrown Lion Fish can reach up to 50 cm (19 inches) at maximum length and weight up to 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds). Did you know that they are poisonous? These fishes have a poisonous tissue in their pectoral, anal, and dorsal fins. When human skin gets in contact with them, the stings can cause extreme pain, swelling, redness and numbness. If this occurs, run hot water in the affected area (Make sure you use the hottest water you can stand {113° Fahrenheit}), until it releases the pain and visit the doctor immediately.

Where can I find them? In the Reefs, mangroves, sea grass, sea beds, lagoons, places with rocky bottoms and up to 150 meters depth in the open ocean.

How can I help? Report the places where you spot them or register as a volunteer so we can extract them from our reefs. It´s important for you to know that there is a regulation in regards of this matter. For more information please visit the office of Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel (Natural Protected Area) or the Municipal Ecology Office.

¡Please do not keep them alive in tanks! ¡¡¡We need your help to stop this invasion that affects our ecosystem and economy!!!

For more information contact us at the following emails or to 01(987) 8724275

Lionfish / Cozumel Island  

Help us protect our reefs. If you see a lionfish during your diving trip, please report it to your divemaster.

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