America is under siege by many harmful non-native species of plants, animals, and microorganisms. More than 6,500 nonindigenous species are now established in the United States, posing risks to native species, valued ecosystems, and human and wildlife health. These invaders extract a huge cost. The current annual environmental, economic, and health-related costs of invasive species exceed those of all other natural disasters combined.

The rapid spread of lionfishes along the U.S. eastern seaboard, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean is the first documented case of a non-native marine fish establishing a self-sustaining population in the region, according to recent U.S. Geological Survey studies.