[Coral-List] mutton snapper eats lionfish in Roatan

Todd Barber reefball at reefball.com
Fri Jan 21 15:46:00 EST 2011

Dear Melanie,

It is not a good idea to feed local fish speared lionfish.  First and
foremost, you have no idea if the fish that eats the lionfish is going
to catch a barb internally and end up dieing from the toxic reaction
at a later point.  Secondly, teaching any wild animal to follow
spearfishermen to obtain a meal is asking for future trouble (both to
humans and for the wild fish that becomes dependent on humans for

A much better practice is to remove the spines (with surgical snips)
and carry the lionfish  back out of the water.


Todd R Barber
Chairman, Reef Ball Foundation
3305 Edwards Court
Greenville, NC 27858
252-353-9094 (Direct)
941-720-7549 (Cell & Goggle Voice)
toddbarber Skype

www,reefball.org (Reef Ball Foundation)
www.artificialreefs.org (Designed Artificial Reefs)
www.reefbeach.com (Reefs for Beach Erosion)
www.eternalreefs.com (Memorial Reefs)
www.reefball.com (Reef Ball Foundation)

On Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 2:54 PM, Melanie McField
<mcfield at healthyreefs.org> wrote:
>  Dear Colleagues,
> Last week I had an amazing dive in Roatan during which a nassau grouper and
> mutton snapper closely followed our fearless lionfish hunter - and the
> mutton snapper actually ended up eating the lionfish (after it was speared
> and offered).  I think this record will increase the number of species that
> are confirmed to consume it.  The video is on Youtube and our new facebook
> site and will soon be on our website (www.healthyreefs.org).  Feel free to
> use the video as needed. The summary information is detailed below the
> links.
> See the video at:
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3oGVWvt7E0
> We also have it on on facebook and are starting a new suite of activities on
> facebook... so 'friend' us to keep informed about marine conservation
> throughout the MAR.
> This is the link
> http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=104509826290815&saved#!/video/video.php?v=104509826290815&comments
> Mutton Snapper recorded eating a lionfish
> January 12, 2011 West End Wall, Roatan, Honduras
> Location:  16.26905 N   86.60288 W    Depth: 80 ft
> In the linked video you can see licensed lionfish hunter and Healthy Reefs
> Coordinator in Honduras, Ian Drysdale, feed  a  speared (and dead) lionfish
> to a mutton snapper, as an interested nassau grouper looks on.  The video
> was taken by Melanie McField, Director of the Healthy Reefs Initiate. Still
> photos were taken by Marisol Rueda, Healthy Reefs Coordinator in Mexico.
>  The
> incident occurred about 15 minutes into the dive. The Nassau grouper  began
> following Ian about 5-10 minutes into the dive and the mutton snapper joined
> along shortly after. Both fish seemed particularly interested in following
> Ian and watching the spear keenly.  Spearfishing is banned in HN and the
> fish show no fear of the spear or the divers in general.  In response to the
> lionfish problem authorities are allowing managers like the Roatan Marine
> Park to license certain trained individuals to use special lionfish spears
> to remove lionfish from the reef inside and outside the Roatan marine park.
>  Both fish were approximately 30-40cm length. Dive guides from Roatan also
> report that the following species have been seen consuming speared lionfish:
> groupers (several species), snappers (including mutton and yellowtail)
> spotted and green morays, and grey reef sharks.  Some plan to attempt to
> train the fish to consume live lionfish, as has been reported from Cayman..
> --
> Melanie McField, PhD
> Director, Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative, Smithsonian
> Institution
> 1755 Coney Dr, Belize City, Belize, Central America
> tel 501-223-4898   cell 501-610-4899
> email: mcfield at healthyreefs.org  www.healthyreefs.org
> Join the International Society for Reef Studies
> www.fit.edu/isrs/
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