aquarium concerns

Jack Ward jadward at
Tue Nov 6 09:51:42 EST 2001

Just as a point of interest, so far this year there have been 2 cases of
Pacific Lionfish being found at Bermuda. Tropical marine fish are not
legally imported into Bermuda and it is extremely unlikely that these were
released locally. The logical conclusion is that there is a breeding
population somewhere upstream. As Bermuda supports the most isolated
tropical reef system in the Western Atlantic it appears as though the larvae
of this exotic species are widely distributed. I understand that these fish
are also being found in the wild in the Carolinas and Florida, probably
elsewhere in the Atlantic.
        Jack Ward
        Bermuda Aquarium , Museum and Zoo

   ----- Original Message -----
From: John McManus <jmcmanus at>
To: Charles Delbeek <delbeek at>
Cc: <coral-list at>
Sent: Monday, November 05, 2001 4:07 PM
Subject: RE: aquarium concerns

> Hi Charles,
> Yes, I do find it fascinating that coral reefs seem to have resisted
> invasion from aquarium fish so far. Your examples from Hawaii are very
> helpful in that regard.
> My impression is that healthy coral reefs, at least, are particularly
> unhealthy for anything out of place. Even a fish frightened by a diver
> often be devoured in a matter of seconds for being slightly more
> to a barracuda or other predator than normal. This may be less true in
> overfished reef areas. There may be a high critical threshold in starting
> new population -- which has implications in particular for the resilience
> Hawaiian reefs to local extinctions. I'm quite worried about mass culture
> facilities in out-of-normal-range locations providing the critical
> thresholds during hurricanes. Thus, the recent discovery of exotic coral
> facilities in the Caribbean is worrying. Then there is always the problem
> "low probability over long periods of time and large numbers of trials".
> However, I would opt for the greatest immediate concern being put on mass
> culture and holding facilities in unnatural locations.
> Cheers!
> John
> _________________________________________________________
> John W. McManus, PhD
> Director, National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research (NCORE)
> Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS)
> University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
> Miami, Florida 33149.
> jmcmanus at
> Tel. (305) 361-4814
> Fax (305) 361-4600
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Charles Delbeek [mailto:delbeek at]
> Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2001 7:10 PM
> To: jmcmanus at
> Cc: coral-list at
> Subject: Re: aquarium concerns
> At 12:20 PM 11/2/2001 -0500, you wrote:
> >Speaking of invasive species, here is an excerpt of today's news from
> >PFP SeaSpan ~~ The bi-monthly electronic newsletter of the
> >Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation. Note that there are many ways
> >other than through aquaria that species are introduced. I think we should
> >seek to limit all sources.
> John: Not to say your point is without merit but in Hawaii tropical marine
> fish have been imported into this state for decades, and there have been
> numerous releases over that time span, however, there has not been a
> incident of any aquarium fish forming a reproducing population here that I
> am aware of. I would hazard to guess that the same may also occur in
> Florida. Yes you do occasionally see sightings of Centropyge flavissimus
> Kaneohe Bay and elsewhere around Oahu and the odd damsel here and there,
> but that's about it. Where there has been catastrophic changes have been
> when the state government, despite advise from scientific consultants
> released fishes here such as the bluestripe snapper, Lutjanus kasmira, and
> the peacock grouper, Cephalopholis argus, the snapper in particular has
> been implicated in the decline of local snapper species. There have also
> been attempts in the last few decades to seed reefs with giant clams and
> some corals from the south Pacific, none of which survived.
> In contrast, the freshwater streams and lakes on several of the islands
> almost completely dominated by aquarium fishes such as cichlids and
> livebearers. In this case, the lack of any competition in the local
> freshwaters probably played a significant role.
> Aloha!
> J. Charles Delbeek
> Aquarium Biologist
> Waikiki Aquarium
> 2777 Kalakaua Ave.
> Honolulu, HI, USA 96815
> 808-923-9741
> 808-923-1771 FAX
> ~~~~~~~
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