After colonizing parts of the Atlantic on the east coast of the United States and the Caribbean, lionfish are now invading the Mediterranean.
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Equipped with harpoons and waterproof notebooks, Louis, Carlos and Antonis dive deep into the crystal clear waters of Konnos Bay in Cyprus on a mission to capture predatory lionfish. After colonizing parts of the Atlantic on the east coast of the United States and the Caribbean, lionfish are now invading the Mediterranean.The lionfish first appeared in the waters off Cyprus in 2012, Louis Hadjioannou, research director at Enalia, told AFP.The cooler waters of the western Mediterranean, he said, have largely been spared for the moment.Since the '80s, the lionfish has caused "significant damage" to the U.S. and Caribbean coastlines, said marine biologist Carlos Jimenez, a senior research coordinator at Enalia.In two years, lionfish in the western Atlantic have reduced 40 species of coral reef fish by about 65 percent, according to a 2012 study funded by Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.VoraciousFear is rife across the Mediterranean, a "small sea" in relative terms but a veritable jewel of biodiversity with some 17,000 species.
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