[Coral-List] Exotic vs. Invasive - Lionfish control

mtupper mtupper at coastal-resources.org
Wed Feb 20 14:46:44 EST 2013

Dear Listers

I have been following discussions on the GCFI list and Coral-L and it has got me
thinking about the history of invasions and fisheries impacts..

Most people that I have talked to who work exclusively in coral reef systems
seem to view the lionfish invasion as something new and unprecedented. In
contrast most of my temperate fisheries colleagues relate the lionfish invasion
to sea lamprey, alewife, zebra mussels, brown trout, etc. I think there is a lot
to be learned from previous invasions (particularly sea lamprey) when it comes
to controlling lionfish. So far people only seem to be concerned with the
futility of trying to spear lionfish off a reef. In the case of sea lamprey, a
$7 billion a year Great Lakes fishery was at stake, as the lampreys had
decimated lake trout to the point of commercial extirpation. That meant the
government was under a lot of pressure to solve the problem, but like lionfish,
lamprey could not simply be removed. There were just too many. So, researchers
got creative and came up with ingenious things like lampricides, which killed
only lamprey larvae and not the larvae of other fish. They also isolated and
were able to manufacture female lamprey pheromone, which was used as an
attractant to gather males into dense clusters where they could be much more
efficiently removed. I think these are some directions worth considering for
lionfish control in the Atlantic. This could be a great line of research for
chemical ecologists.



Dr. Mark Tupper
Coastal Resources Association
207-10822 City Parkway, Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 0C2
Email: mtupper at coastal-resources.org
Tel. 1-604-588-1674; Mobile: 1-604-961-2022

Philippines Office:
Poblacion, Sagay, Camiguin, Philippines 9103
Tel. +63-906-568-3653

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