First Annual Lone Star Lionfish Symposium Hosts Public Forum February 2-3
The public will soon have a chance to ask the experts about lionfish, a spiky, venomous species of fish invading Texas coastal waters. The First Annual Lone Star Lionfish Symposium will hold a public forum from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, during which the public can ask the attending experts questions about lionfish threats and management. Doors to the forum open at 6 p.m.
The symposium, co-sponsored by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Feb. 2 and 3, will host partners from around Texas and the Gulf of Mexico to develop a unified, proactive and multifaceted approach to managing Texas’ lionfish invasion. Other sponsors include HARC (the Houston Advanced Research Center), The Nature Conservancy, the Texas State Aquarium, the Coastal Conservation Association of Texas, Texas Sea Grant, the Saltwater-fisheries Enhancement Association, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, REEF, and the Environmental Law Institute. Participants include private industry, universities, government agencies and various non-governmental groups.
Lionfish have become a problem in recent years as they invade and degrade coastal and marine ecosystems in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. With few natural predators, they have spread throughout the region, reducing the number of fish, shrimp and crab species and degrading reefs. In areas of high density, they are causing both ecological and economic impacts.
The public will also have the chance to engage in one-on-one discussions with experts, including HARC Vice President, Lisa Gonzalez. The Texas State Aquarium is located at 2710 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi, Texas 78402. Guests will enter at the Aquarium’s Wild Flight gate to the left of the building, and they will be directed to the Aquarium lobby where the forum will be held.
Photo caption: Lionfish (Pterois volitans). Photo courtesy Don DeMaria, USGS NAS Database.