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

Todd Barber reefball at reefball.com
Wed Jan 26 10:18:20 EST 2011

Hi John,

Actually, while it may seem paradoxical, there is logic behind my
suggestions.  What I said was that any interventions require thinking
about long term consequences....something that we must do every day
when building artificial reefs, rehabilitating coral reefs, planting
mangrove stands, and creating oyster reefs.  And believe me, when we
do interventions we use large teams of experts guided by a team
process with consideration for all the goals of a particular project
with an emphasis on long term consequences.

We all have to make these choices....and it's especially important to
do so in situations where humans are at fault for the problem in the
first place (as is the case with Lionfish and most of the degradation
of our world's reef ecosystems).  There are limited resources to
offset human impacts (which is why the debate on Lionfish is important
as there comes a point where we must accept the consequences of our
human impacts and admit it's to costly to control them).

I should also point out to be fair that we don't "profit" from our
rehabilitation and restoration efforts....Reef Ball Foundation is a
public non-profit organization tasked with oceanic ecosystem work.

And I will also point out that all my comments on the Coral List are
my personal opinions based on a lifetime of working in the sea and I
post for people learn, be critical and make their own choices of what
works best for the particular problems they face.

When I said that "it's better to let mother nature adapt in a natural
way" I was making a personal value judgment....and I really believe
that we cannot afford to control Lionfish to any significant level
with current technology.  I hope I am wrong BUT I have a deep
understanding of the life cycle and behaviors of Lion Fish and due to
a gelatinous spawning behavior and their ability to adapt to a wide
variety of depths, temperatures and other conditions I believe
physical control is practically impossible. (The only hope would be
some sort of introduced genetic manipulation or lionfish specific
pathogen both of which are likely too dangerous to attempt in the wild
with current technologies).

That's just my opinion and I really hope somebody will prove me wrong.

-Todd Barber
Chairman, Reef Ball Foundation


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 Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 12:11 PM, Bruno, John F <jbruno at unc.edu> wrote:
> 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.
> JB
> John Bruno
> Associate Professor
> UNC Chapel Hill
> www.brunolab.net<http://www.brunolab.net>
> 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>
> Message-ID:
> <AANLkTi=23fHhekAQUXYC3RFGQw5xwNzd-nq4zedRH-VR at mail.gmail.com<mailto:AANLkTi=23fHhekAQUXYC3RFGQw5xwNzd-nq4zedRH-VR at mail.gmail.com>>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> 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.
> Thanks,
> 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)
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

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