Lionfish had invaded the Atlantic, but I was not aware. It had been fifteen years since I dove in Florida or the Caribbean, but I was in south Florida and diving on a small wreck. As I came across the bow of the sunken ship, I almost spit out my regulator - a lionfish?!? What was THAT doing here? They are only supposed to be in the Pacific!
Lionfish are what ecologists refer to as an invasive species - plants, animals or microorganisms that were not naturally found in and area, but introduced by human activity have a exponentially destructive impact on the ecosystem. Lionfish are naturally found in the Pacific Ocean. They are beautiful fish, as they stretch out their impressive fins with long venomous spines. They have also been popular with aquarists, but their tendency to grow large and eat all the other fish in the tank. A fish like this doesn’t flush down the toilet easily, so why not just throw it into the canal or the ocean.
What has happened since the introduction of the lionfish has been catastrophic for reefs. They have no natural predators because of their venomous protection, and they still maintain that ability to eat most of the fish around. So they have become pervasive on reefs in south Florida and the Caribbean. They have impacted the ecosystem significantly, and there are mass campaigns to eradicate lion fish. Today, it is common for diver operations to encourage you to take a spear along and kill some lionfish.
Invasive species: they initially seem like a fun, pleasant, or desirable creature to have around, but they do not belong and the disrupt the natural ecosystem.
What do you have in your life that seemed like a good idea at one time but really should not be there?
How is it disrupting your life and causing undesirable consequences? Has it reached a point where you are ready to get rid of it?
And what are you doing to eradicate it?
Grab a spear and dive in.