[Coral-List] Lionfish in Belize

Lad Akins Lad at reef.org
Sat Dec 20 10:07:40 EST 2008

HI Katherine, Mark and all,


Thanks Mark, for chiming in with info and forwarding the USGS NAS site.  A
number of us have been collaborating on research, education/outreach, early
detection/reporting/rapid response and control and have many lessons learned
from the past few years of intense work in the Bahamas, Bermuda, the US East
Coast and the Caribbean.  I thought I'd respond to Katherine's info request
and pass along more info to those interested in the lionfish (and other
non-natives) issue.


First, the report...we are aware of this one and vetting final details
before putting the word out.  The report came in to us on December 11th (the
day the fish was sighted) from one of Peter Hughes' dive vessels.  An
instructor (who has significant experience diving in New Guinnea and knows
her fish!) found the lionfish about mid-day on the 11th at a site referred
to as Doc's Place on the east side of Turneffe.  The fish is approx. 8-10cm
and was observed in the open at a depth of 85'.  We do have photo
confirmation of the fish (I've seen the images and confirmed the sighting)
and are working on final details before putting the fish into the USGS NAS
sightings database.


For those of you interested in staying current on lionfish distribution and
new reports, please consider signing up for the USGS early warning
notification system.  All data that we receive is forwarded into this master
database and any new records of lionfish or other non-native species are
broadcast to those signed up for the early warning system. You can access
the site at  http://nas.er.usgs.gov <http://nas.er.usgs.gov/>  and follow
the links to the taxa of your choice.


For each of the records listed in the lionfish distribution map, additional
info is accessed by clicking on the map dot.  Records in this system are
well vetted and QA generally requires an image or very strong evidence of
occurrence before inclusion, hence the delay in getting the Belize fish into
the system.


Another site of interest may be the lionfish progression map showing the
spread of this invasion by year.




This map is updated regularly though not daily.


I encourage the reporting of all sightings of lionfish or any other
non-native species via either the REEF Exotic Species Reporting page

or the USGS NAS System http://nas.er.usgs.gov/SightingReport.asp


If anyone is interested we also have a lionfish project already planned for
Belize in June (13th-20th) aboard Peter Hughes' Sundancer liveaboard.  This
was originally planned to be an education/awareness project, but it looks
like we may be doing more now with this early arrival.


Feel free to drop me a note if you have any questions or would like more


Best Fishes,





Lad Akins

Director of Special Projects


98300 Overseas Hwy

Key Largo  FL  33037

(305) 852-0030

(305) 942-7333 cell




-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Katherine Cure
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 9:48 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Lionfish in Belize


Hello to all,

I just got the first report for lionfishes at Turneffe Atoll, Belize.

I haven't personally seen them, but got the report from dive master at The

Agressor, a local liveaboard.

Pictures, gotten by a local diver on the eastern side of Turneffe are

available for species ID.

Can those colleagues involved in dealing with this invasive species contact

me with further information?




Katherine Cure, M.Sc.

Field Coordinator/Coral Reef Researcher

Oceanic Society

Blackbird Caye, Belize

T: (501) 220-4256


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