During my recent vacation (a whirlwind family tour of the Western Caribbean), I spent some time on the island of Roatan (off the coast of Honduras). Being a good environmental steward--stop laughing--I spent some time talking with a representative from the Roatan Marine Park--OK, my family was shopping and I was bored so I stopped by a kiosk for the Marine Park*. I learned that their #1 concern right now is the impact of the invasive Lionfish on tourism. So upon my return to snowy Ohio, I looked up the Marine Park website and saw this:
Economic costs from invasive species can occur through loss of recreational and tourism revenues. This is a particularly the case with the invasive Pterois volitans (lionfish) on Roatan where so much revenue is dependent on the tourism industry. When economic costs of invasions are calculated as production loss and management costs, they are low because they do not consider environmental damage; if monetary values were assigned to the extinction of species, loss in biodiversity, and loss of ecosystem services, costs from impacts of invasive species would drastically increase.
I think something more specific than 'drastically' is needed. I think I may have found my calling.
Lionfish were accidentally released into the Atlantic from Biscayne Bay Florida in 1992 following hurricane Andrew. Genetic analysis reveals that lionfish in the Caribbean have likely all originated from this population
*To prove my good stewardship I bought a Roatan Marine Park t-shirt for $10. On the back it has a WANTED poster for lionfish with the caption "Eat More Lionfish."