[Coral-List] Lionfish in St. Croix

Kynoch Reale-Munroe kynoch_reale at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 20 19:40:28 EST 2011

Hello coral-list community!

I just wanted to share my personal account of witnessing possibly the most 
detrimental invasion to marine ecology in history.

I am taken aback by the severity of this invasion. It was one thing to read 
about the devastating accounts in the literature, but to watch it happen has 
made the hair on my neck stand up. 

The first confirmed lionfish in St. Croix, USVI was in Nov. 2008. There was then 
a dry spell, followed by a rapid, exponential population explosion. In just over 
2 years, we went from routine, strategic lionfish searches resulting in zero (0) 
sightings, to extractions on almost every dive.

My husband and I pulled out six (6) lionfish from the bay outside our home in 
the last week, all of which were in less than 8 feet of water! The six lionfish 
we extracted ranged from approx. 1 to 6 inches in length. Never before had we 
even seen one in the last 1.5 years of snorkeling this same bay.

Because of a very small group of amazing people, a lot has been done in an 
effort to mitigate the problem here, but I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed.



Kynoch Reale-Munroe 
University of the Virgin Islands
V.I Resource Conservation & Development

"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we 
understand, and we will understand only what we are taught." 

~Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist


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