Lionfish around Paxos, Greece

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Lionfish photos Paxos Oasisub

If you have seen a Lionfish around Paxos or Antipaxos, please use the map below to record your findings. You can record sightings made over the last four years. Simply click on the + button at the top right, scroll to find the location of your Lionfish and click on the map to add a pin. Then complete the form, add a photo (if you wish) and click the submit button.

For more information about why I have created this map, please see below.

+Add location

For those who don’t know me, my name is Sarah. Originally from the UK, I now live in Paxos where I am fortunate to spend a great deal of time swimming and diving in the amazing clear water around the island.

The aim of this page is to chart the population of Lionfish in the waters around Paxos and Antipaxos. Although beautiful, this fish is not native to the Mediterranean. It has no significant predators in our sea, it reproduces at a fast rate and has a voracious appetite. As a result, there is a significant risk that it will affect the biodiversity of our sea.

What can we do? Experience from other regions where they are not native (such as the Caribbean) shows that one of the most effective ways to control the population is to eat them. We need to encourage restaurants to put Lionfish on their menus. They are a tasty fish, but their preparation requires expertise. If there is demand in the restaurants, the fishermen will catch them. The restaurants who serve them will receive extra trade, fisherman are encouraged to catch a fish which could ultimately destroy their fisheries and we get to enjoy a tasty meal knowing we have helped the island we love and the environment generally.

I hope that this map will help identify where they are most prevalent, so that the fishermen know where to look and we can better understand the current situation.

Understanding Lionfish in the Mediterranean

A Lionfish I encountered swimming around Fisherman’s Perch, Paxos

Native to the Indian Ocean, Lionfish (Pterois miles) are a highly invasive species that are believed to have entered the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal around 2012. After some initial sporadic sitings in the eastern Mediterranean their numbers grew, spreading to the central Mediterranean and beyond (one of the fastest fish invasions ever recorded in the region). They reached Paxos about 4 years ago.

The spines of the Lionfish contain a potent venom, so they are best avoided unless you know how to handle them. If you encounter a Lionfish you can expect it to swim away from you or hide.

Lionfish are opportunistic predators with a generalist diet. They feed on a large variety of fish and crustaceans. They can live up to 15 years, growing up to 35cm in length, and can spawn frequently, potentially producing millions of eggs per year. These eggs travel on ocean currents and cover large distances before they settle. The young fish mature rapidly.

In the Mediterranean, Lionfish seem to favour rocky areas and may retreat into crevices if threatened. They can also be observed in sea grass, and in or around caves and harbours. They can be seen from the surface to a maximum depth of around 100m.

Lionfish should not be confused with the native Scorpionfish (pictured below). The Scorpionfish also has venomous spines and is a favourite on taverna menus. However, unlike the Lionfish, the Scorpionfish is usually observed sitting on rocky bottoms.

Scorpionfish photos Angus Blair

If you would like to contact me, click here.

Add a new Lionfish location / Καταγράψετε μια νέα τοποθεσία λεοντοψαρoύ

ie 1st January / πχ 1η Ιανουαρίου
ie rocks, sea grass, harbour, cave / πχ βράχια, ποσειδωνία, λιμάνι, σπήλαιο
Average size of fish / Μέσο μέγεθος ψαριού*
ie swimming, scuba diving, boating, fishing / πχ κολύμβηση, καταδύσεις, βαρκάδα, ψάρεμα
Optional / Προαιρετικός