[Coral-List] Lionfish Invade Miami's Inshore Waters
waveland at comcast.net
Tue Jul 13 23:37:48 EDT 2010
I just returned from a week diving at Glover's Reef in Belize. From
previous entries on this list I was under the impression that lionfish had
reached well beyond Belize, but that encounters were few and far between,
and that efforts to eradicate or control them could be meaningful. From
what I saw, I would now say eradication is a pipe dream, and any significant
control is a long shot.
We saw lionfish in the 30'-60' depth range on just about every dive near the
drop-off at sites off Northeast Cay, Long Cay and Middle Cay. On our first
dive, we saw four at three different locations. I observed individuals
hovering around several small coral heads in the lagoon, and there were
three living among the pilings under the cabin I was staying in.
Our divemaster said he had seen large grouper eat them, but I don't know
what happens to a grouper that does so. One of the local fishermen said
that if they wanted to control the lionfish population, they should put a $1
bounty on each one brought in to make it worthwhile catching them.
One positive ecological note--Diadema seem to be making a bit of a comeback.
For some reason they also liked the pilings under my cabin. There were at
least fifteen congregating under there, reminding me of what they were like
30 years ago in that area. There were occasional individuals at other
locations in the lagoon. This is in comparison to seeing none in that area
two years ago.
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