NOAA OCEAN EXPLORATION PHOTO
A NOAA expedition to explore shipwrecks within in the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary saw something “stunning” in the past week: clusters of invasive, venomous lionfish. Two decades of anecdotal catches had proven lionfish had found their way from the South Pacific to North Carolina’s coast. However, their abundance wasn’t clear until last week, when a NOAA Ocean Exploration team sent a remotely controlled camera 260 feet down to explore the World War II wreck of the E.M. Clark. As the camera panned the 500-foot-long tanker, groups of lionfish could be seen hovering around it. In some instances, they were hiding in the wreck itself, filling its nooks and crannies. It was estimated hundreds were on the wreck.
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