[Coral-List] Lion fish question

Richard Berey CoastWorks at hughes.net
Fri Apr 19 11:51:45 EDT 2013

Here in St. Croix there is a sizable community of local fishermen along with
active sport diving businesses. Their observations parallel mine regarding
lionfish impacts. Personally, having been in these waters since 1984 I have
noted both the acute habitat degradation events (bleaching events for
example) and chronic degradation (non-point source pollution, fishing
pressure, climate associated, etc). I have been amazed at the impact from
lionfish. Areas with which I am familiar became nearly exclusive lionfish
domains in a short span of time. Same areas where divers have applied
continuous pressure on the lionfish began to see the return of other
species. In the absence of lionfish hunting ­ the lionfish returned and the
other species drastically diminished.

A curious by-product of the lionfish spear hunters is the change in the
habits of the ubiquitous reef sharks: At some dive sites, upon reaching
depth, divers are accompanied by three or four of the sharks for the entire
dive. The sharks are waiting for the lionfish hand-outs. They¹ll remain in
close proximity and can be very insistent once a lionfish is speared.

Richard W. Berey

St. Croix, USVI

From: Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net>
Reply-To: Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net>
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2013 09:37:19 -0400 (GMT-04:00)
To: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Subject: [Coral-List] Lion fish question

   Thanks to all who replied to the lion fish question both on and off list..
   The information provided proved to be interesting and thought provoking.
   never  doubted the fact that this invasive species is problematic, but
   concerns remain relating to several key points.

   As one respondent put it, could we be guilty of attributing causation (of
   a broader problem) to a temporal correlation? Is the proliferation of
   invasion being enhanced and exacerbated by preconditions that we prefer
   treat with comparative indifference? Why is it that we are reacting so
   aggressively to this scourge on our reefs while continuing to ignore what
   the ICRS has identified as undeniably a greater threat?  Are the
   that are unfolding in any way solutional?

   These are the questions that continue to reverberate with me.


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