[Coral-List] Mutton snapper eating lionfish in Roatan (Todd Barber)

Bruno, John F jbruno at unc.edu
Tue Jan 25 12:11:15 EST 2011

Todd, I feel the need to point out the irony in your comments; you make a living littering the sea floor with cement, AKA "reef balls", in an attempt to artificially "restore" reefs, hotel beaches, etc and yet you argued "it's better to let mother nature adapt in a natural way" than to intervene and attempt local biocontrol?  You also hypothesized about some of the unintended consequences and long term-effects related to spear-fishing and science in general.  Wouldn't these views also apply to your own commercial activities? Your rant just seems a bit hypocritical to me.


John Bruno
Associate Professor
UNC Chapel Hill

Message: 3
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2011 14:28:12 -0500
From: Todd Barber <reefball at reefball.com<mailto:reefball at reefball.com>>
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Mutton snapper eating lionfish in Roatan
To: Roatan Marine Park <info at roatanmarinepark.net<mailto:info at roatanmarinepark.net>>
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
<AANLkTi=23fHhekAQUXYC3RFGQw5xwNzd-nq4zedRH-VR at mail.gmail.com<mailto:AANLkTi=23fHhekAQUXYC3RFGQw5xwNzd-nq4zedRH-VR at mail.gmail.com>>
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Wild animals (both land and sea) should never be "trained"....history
shows time and time again that inducing these types of behaviors often
leads to unintended consequences.

There's nothing wrong (and it's quite admirable) for Roatan to have a
program to encourage taking of the lionfish for local restaurant
consumption.  Issuing spearguns for control of lionfish can be useful
as long as the spearguns are used only for lion fish to control
populations.  However, feeding wild fish (with any food source much
less on with known poisonous spines) is nothing less than an
uncontrolled and potentially dangerous experiment.

Until science determines some definitive answer, lionfish are here to
stay but it's better to let mother nature adapt in a natural way to
the new species rather than trying to force new behaviors on wild fish
populations. If you want to feed lionfish to other fish species do so
in a captive (perhaps public) aquarium...they you get free fish food
without modifying behaviors of wild fish populations.

Ever stop to think what those fish would be doing if they were not
following spear fisherpeople for a free meal?  I have personally seen
fish that were in a weakened diseased state in an area where fish were
fed regularly then abruptly stopped (it was a tourist designation for
a submarine that moved locations and fish were no longer feed daily).
I have also (personally) witnessed Sharks and Goliath Groupers become
very aggressive to divers when getting accustomed to stealing food
from spearfishing.  There have been reported attacks from sharks
accustomed to stealing food from spearfishing.

I think good intentions are awesome....we all need to try to come up
with solutions to issues facing our reefs....but long term
consequences should always be considered too.


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<http://reefball.org> (Reef Ball Foundation)
www.artificialreefs.org<http://www.artificialreefs.org> (Designed Artificial Reefs)
www.reefbeach.com<http://www.reefbeach.com> (Reefs for Beach Erosion)
www.eternalreefs.com<http://www.eternalreefs.com> (Memorial Reefs)
www.reefball.com<http://www.reefball.com> (Reef Ball Foundation)

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