Invasive fish species found in Lasithi

Source —  The Cretan branch of  the Greek Center for Marine Research (ΕΛΚΕΘΕ)  announced the appearance in the sea region of Agios Panteleimonas in Lassithi, of an invasive species of poisonous fish known as lionfish capable of causing extinctions of native plants and animals and altering habitats.  It had first appeared in Rhodes in the summer of 2015 after it was believed to have made its way to the Mediterranean Sea through the newly  widened and deepened Suez Canal.

The first  lionfish to have made its way to the waters  of Crete was transported to the  ΕΛΚΕΘΕ aquarium in Crete.

Lionfish are generalist carnivores and can feed on a variety of fish and crustaceans, with large individuals preying almost exclusively on fish. They spawn every four days, year-round, producing around two million buoyant gelatinous eggs per year, which can ride the ocean currents and cover large distances for about a month before they settle.

Their success at invading new territories stems from a combination of factors such as early maturation and reproduction, and venomous spines that deter predators, and they can quickly colonise reefs and reduce biodiversity in the area. – Science Daily

Authorities warn swimmers and fishermen to be cautious as the lionfish has venomous spines that inject a powerful protein-based toxin into their prey.

ΕΛΚΕΘΕ thanked  the fisherman Charilaos Frangakis  who alerted the authorities  to its presence in Cretan waters and urges others who spot a lionfish to do the same.