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June 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Another Non-Native Species in Florida

from the June, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Lad Akins, founder of the REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation), reports that divers from REEF and Eckerd College spotted a non-native orangespine unicorn fish, a popular aquarium fish native to the Indo-Pacific, while diving off Key Largo, FL, during early June. A rapid response team from REEF and the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science located and captured the fish at Molasses Reef. It's the fourth member of that species recorded in U.S. waters.

A month earlier, divers at Fort Lauderdale had live-captured a non-native Picasso triggerfish, first spotted by a snorkeler off Sunrise Blvd. A team from REEF and Frost Science spent two days locating and removing the elusive fish.

It was the second Picasso triggerfish recorded in U.S. waters, the ninth non-native marine fish removed through REEF's Early Detection/Rapid Response program and the 37th nonnative marine fish species documented in Florida.

Akins said, "When non-native fish are introduced into places [to which] they have not evolved, they have the potential to cause negative impacts. If we don't react quickly and wait to see what those impacts might be, we miss the opportunity for prevention."

The lionfish problem serves to remind us of the danger of non-native species, which are probably released into the ocean by well-intentioned but naÔve aquarium owners.

If you spot a non-native marine fish species, immediately submit a report on REEF's online Exotic Species Sightings Form, which can be accessed at http://www.REEF.org/programs/exotic/report

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