Officials try to control lionfish population

RALEIGH Officials say they need to prevent the species, which is native to the Pacific Ocean, from damaging Atlantic fishing areas. The lionfish was first seen in NC in 2000.

According to Paula Whitfield, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the lionfish are common 100 feet below the surface.

Officials worry the lionfish are making life harder for struggling popular reef fish such as grouper and snapper by stealing their food and eating their young.

Scientists don't think they can eliminate the fish because there are so many of them. Discovery Diving Co. in Beaufort and Olympus Dive Center in Morehead City are recruiting divers for a series of "lionfish rodeos," starting May 18-19.

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