Sharks and Lionfish

It is agreed upon that sharks are the most capable of marine life that can eat lionfish without suffering from its toxins. In the indo-pacific oceans sharks are naturally found there and possibly can be taught to prey on lionfish. The answer for the lionfish explosion along the eastern coast is not as easily solved. Sharks are not naturally found along the reefs in the southern half of the United States. The Caribbean, due to its warmer waters, has a natural shark population so sharks there can be taught to prey upon lionfish. The issue is, no matter of location, is that sharks do not usually eat lionfish due to the amount of work that goes into it. The lionfish is naturally devoid of predators due to its toxic fins. So sharks can eat the lionfish but stay away due to the work involved. On behalf of human intervention, divers and some marine ecologists are trying to teach sharks to gain a taste for lionfish by feeding them to sharks. That action in itself leads to more problems than answers. One is that it is dangerous for the trainer who can be seen as an extension of the food being fed to them and end up being bitten or worse. Another problem with feeding sharks is that they begin to look at humans as food as an extension of being fed by humans.

Sharks are one species of animal that are capable of eating the lionfish without severe consequences to them. The problem with this approach is that sharks do not naturally prey upon the lionfish due to them being a difficult catch. The human intervention of feeding lionfish to sharks in order to decrease their numbers has some negative effects. It can lead sharks to lose their hunting skills, can lead them to become lazy when feeding by always expecting a “free” meal by humans and proves dangerous for the divers who are feeding the sharks. Next to humans hunting lionfish themselves, getting sharks to feed upon them naturally is the next best solution to the growing lionfish problem.

The answer to the lionfish problem is not sharks. The answer lies within humans doing what they do best, overusing natural resources. Although the fish is venomous, when prepared and cooked properly the fish is very delicious. The problem is that it is not cost effective to catch them yet. Scooping them up with a net is not feasible so it costs dollars to hire divers to go out and get them. Aside from being delicious they appeal to many people because the taste does not have a fishy taste. That fact will appeal to many people. The fact that it costs more to catch them more than other fish also plays into the cost of the fish at restaurants. Lionfish have a cost that is on par with that of sushi which is typically more expensive. At the end of the day though, while sharks are a viable option, they are not the best option.

Updated: 20 Jan, 2020 © All rights reserved.