A lionfish (Pterois miles) invasion has begun in the Mediterranean Sea

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Abstract

Until now, few sightings of the alien lionfish Pterois miles have been reported in the Mediterranean and it was questionable whether the species could invade this region like it has in the western Atlantic. Here, we present evidence from divers and fishermen that lionfish have recently increased in abundance and within a year colonised almost the entire south eastern coast of Cyprus, likely due to sea surface warming. At least 23 different fish are reported of which 6 were removed. Groups of lionfish exhibiting mating behaviour have been noted for the first time in the Mediterranean. Managers need this information and should alert stakeholders to the potential ecological and socio-economic impacts that may arise from a lionfish invasion. Actions could involve incentives to engage divers and fishermen in lionfish removal programmes, as these have worked well at shallow depths in the Caribbean. Given that the Suez Canal has recently been widened and deepened, measures will need to be put in place to help prevent further invasion.

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Kletou, D., Hall-Spencer, J. M., & Kleitou, P. (2016). A lionfish (Pterois miles) invasion has begun in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Biodiversity Records, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41200-016-0065-y

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