Invasive Species

The introduction of aquarium fish species to areas where they do not occur naturally is a problem more acute for freshwater species than for marine species. Reports have indicated that a number of individuals of the species Pterois volitans, lionfish (marine fish native to the Indo-Pacific region), have been observed on four wrecks and one natural hard bottom off the coast of North Carolina at depth ranges between 40 and 45 m during 2000 and

2001'

Some individuals were also observed off the include six lionfish accidentally released in Biscayne Bay, Florida, from a home aquarium during Hurricane Andrew (1992) and diver reports of lionfish off Palm Beach and Boca Raton, Florida, in the early 1990s187. The US Geological Survey (USGS) invasive species database lists fish species (http://nas.er.usgs.gov/fishes/index.html] that have been introduced into US waters through intentional and accidental stocking, release of bait fish, release of unwanted aquarium fish, escape from aquaculture facilities and discharge of ballast water188. Examples of species introduced through the potential release of unwanted aquarium fish include Moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus), sailfin tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii), yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens), bursa triggerfish (Rhinecanthus verrucosus), racoon butterflyfish (Chaetodon lunula), orbiculate batfish (Platax orbicularis), imperator angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) in Florida and lemonpeel angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus) in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

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