Thought to be introduced to the U.S. coast via Florida pet owners, voracious lionfish are a growing concern, swimming through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico up the eastern seaboard on fins like fairy wings. They arrive hungry and in force. Lionfish eat vulnerable grouper and snapper, and a single invasive fish can spawn up to 30,000 eggs every four days. As widespread as the fish are, most sharks won't readily chow down on lionfish. Instead, divers have now taken to hand-feeding reef sharks lionfish, kebabbed on the end of spears, all in the name of conservation.
Diver Andrés Jiménez and photographer Antonio Busiello describe the practice to the Washington Post: a speared lionfish is proffered to a shark, who swallows the fish head-first, minimizing the chance of getting pricked by a spine. The sharks "are really mad for dead or injured lionfish, and they get used to being fed lionfish by divers," he tells the Post by email.