St. Petersburg, Florida -- At I.C. Sharks, seafood is big business.
"I'll take the black grouper," said customer Mary Griffen.
But the seafood industry is facing a predator -- lionfish. Native to the Indo-Pacific, lionfish have invaded the Caribbean, Atlantic, and the Gulf. They're ravenous and eat anything, including grouper and snapper.
Fisherman Matt Boissy knows.
"They never stop eating and they never stop breeding, so you got a problem right there," said Boissy.
So 10 News hit the water looking for answers and learned marine businesses are feeling the economic pinch. Dylan Hubbard is part of Hubbard Marina, and his family's been fishing the Gulf for 85 years.
"It's not what I've heard, it's what I've seen. Over the past five years, we're seeing more and more lionfish," said Hubbard.
Hubbard explained that lionfish are taking over the feeding grounds of native fish, and said if lionfish go unchecked Florida could end up losing its fishing industry.
The reason is simple. lionfish have no predators, and they eat the babies of grouper, snapper, and other fish, meaning the populations aren't replenishing themselves. That means less fish to catch, less fish to sell, and less fish to buy. It's a spiral that could have devastating economic results for thousands of people who pull their living from the water and those who enjoy eating seafood.
"We need to do something about it," said Griffen.