Lionfish need predators to balance out their ecosystem.
Lionfish are pretty, but they belong in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They lack natural predators in the Caribbean, so lionfish have become quite the invasive species since they escaped from aquariums ten years ago to breed in the waters off the US and Central America. In Honduras, divers are not only hunting them, they are also training sharks to eat the lionfish!
“At the beginning, the divers just killed lionfish and fed sharks with them to get the sharks to develop a taste,” said photographer Antonio Busiello, who observed the process in action.
“In the second step, to have the sharks develop an interest in hunting them, divers started to leave wounded lionfish so that the sharks could taste them. After a while, [the sharks] did start to hunt them and go after them.”
Living up to their voracious reputations, many sharks can eat venomous prey, such as lionfish, and suffer no apparent ill effects, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Humans are also encouraged to eat lionfish, which are tasty once the venomous spines are removed. Read all about it in this gallery from National Geographic.