Yesterday (30 September), 39-year-old Arfon Summers may have caught the first ever lionfish found in British waters during when he was fishing in Dorset.
Catch of the day
He had gone to the beach with the intention of getting his hands on a triggerfish—another species that recently arrived in the country, but returned home with something far more beautiful, dangerous, and unique. He told The Sun:
My mind was blown, a lionfish is a new offshore personal best. It’s no doubt the ocean is getting warmer to house these.
I didn’t let it go due to it being an invasive species.
Some believe that it could have been an aquarium fish that was released into the ocean but according to the Mirror, marine biologists are saying that the fish may have travelled to Britain from Italy. Lionfish expert, Jason Hall-Spencer said:
The water is warm enough, so a lionfish could have swum over here from the western Mediterranean. If it has, it means there will likely be more and it could have huge consequences for our native species.
What’s shocking about the find is that lionfish are usually found in warmer marine waters. According to Young People’s Trust For the Environment, they are native to the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, so you’ll most likely find them around Japan, Indonesia, and Australia. However, over the last few years the fish has been spreading to other parts of the world, including the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Mediterranean.
Given the surprising find, people around the area are now being asked to stay alert since lionfish are as deadly as they are beautiful.
They've got venomous spines that could cause severe reactions in humans, from throbbing, to swelling, bleeding, bruising, redness, and numbness. To make things worse, the venom can also lead to other complications including fever and shortness of breath, and other more serious conditions like paralysis and cardiac arrest.