Firm Turns Menacing, Invasive Lionfish Into Fashionable Faux Leather Products

Jun 14, 2022

Nearly 40 years ago, aquarium owners dumped a handful of predator fish into Florida waters. Now, two divers have found a way to help stop the fish.

The fish are invasive. They're called lionfish and can now be found around the world. The fish are native to the Indo-Pacific region. They spread fast via ocean currents. They now swim in the Atlantic Ocean up and down the East Coast into the Gulf of Mexico. They're even found in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. They eat marine life. They also feast on coral reefs and the algae that grows on them. They disrupt entire oceanic food chains. 

Now two scuba divers have come up with a new way to thin the lionfish population. In doing so, they made an eco-friendly, alternative to products made from animal leather. Leather usually comes from cows. When they graze, they can pollute soil and create high carbon emissions. That drives climate change. 

Aarav Chavda and Roland Salatino invented the leather. They're company is called Inversa EcoLeathers. It buys millions of lionfish from fishermen. The fish have thin but strong skin. The company uses it to make high-end products.

Inversa is based in Florida. It notes that one 20-inch-long lionfish can eat 70,000 native reef fish in a 15-year lifetime. The lionfish have no natural predators outside their native waters. A single female can spawn as many as 2 million eggs a year.

Says Inversa: “We are helping to solve an environmental crisis and protecting biodiversity. We create authentic leather and leave the world better for it.”

Photo from David Clode courtesy of Unsplash.

The main idea of the second paragraph is that _______. (Common Core RI.5.2; RI.6.2)
a. leather made from fish skins is more environmentally friendly
b. lionfish are an invasive species in the Atlantic
c. lionfish are popular pets
d. lionfish are venomous
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