[Coral-List] new mystery fish

mtupper mtupper at coastal-resources.org
Tue Jan 22 12:28:32 EST 2013

Hi Andy,

That information on panther grouper becoming more popular than lionfish came to
me from the manager of a large aquarium fish distribution company here on the
west coast. He told me that customers have expressed less interest in buying
lionfish since the invasion has become so prominent on the news. Apparently some
of the customers do not want to feel an association with the invasion. Many of
those customers have instead ordered Cromileptes. So, it's a sample size of one,
but I doubt that his was the only fish distribution company  to experience this.
On the other hand, Vancouver is one of the "greenest" cities in the world and
people here are generally very aware about marine environmental issues, like the
recent movement to ban shark fin products in Richmond, the largest
Cantonese-speaking community outside of China. Perhaps it is a local phenomenon.

I agree with you that domestically caught lionfish could take over from imports
in Florida and the southeastern US, but not elsewhere in the world. "Caribbean"
lionfish are currently offered on the market for roughly the same price as
Indo-Pacific specimens. The price for Caribbean lionfish will increase as the
shipping distance increases. Nobody in China, Japan, Thailand or Germany (all
countries with large aquarium hobbyist sectors) would pay extra to get a
Caribbean lionfish. Even here on the west coast, where we have daily direct
flights to Manila from several major cities, and many of the major fish
distributors have collection infrastructure in the Philippines, Indonesia,
Vanuatu, etc., people are not going to bother ordering Caribbean lionfish.

As for your last sentence about the sanity of not using some sort of
science-based decision matrix to determine how to stock an aquarium, I couldn't
agree more.


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. 63-927-921-9915

On January 19, 2013 at 3:59 PM "Rhyne, Andrew" <arhyne at rwu.edu> wrote:
> Gene, this is no mystery fish. It is the panther grouper, it once was
> living in an aquarium and was likely released when it grow to large and no
> one wanted it. This is not the first sighting of this fish (I think #6 in
> Florida) and given its prevalence in the trade and large size finding them
> is not surprising.
> Mark, your statement regarding an increase in Panther groupers vs.
> lionfish sales are not supported by any facts or papers I have seen. I
> have to wonder where you have gotten such information. It is very
> misleading to suggest that lionfish sales have decreased because of the
> invasion, and that C. altivelis is being replace as the top predator.
> This is simply not true in Florida or in the States in general. In fact
> I'm betting we will see a decrease in imports of lionfish and a sharp rise
> in domestically collected lionfish. Both fish have been staples of the
> "fish-only" predator tanks. Both fish are likely less popular today
> because of the shift from fish tanks to reef tanks. The large groupers
> are very problematic because they are purchased small and grow entirely
> too big for any normal fish tank. C. altivelis also makes it way in to the
> trade as small "cute" groupers easily because they are aquacultured in
> large numbers for food. So there is a cheap abundant supply of juvenile
> fish for the pet trade. These fish will grow into something few can keep
> in their homes. It surely begs questions at to the sanity of not having
> some sort of science-based decision matrix to determine what should be in
> a fish tank and what shouldn't be.
> Andy
> --
> Andrew L. Rhyne, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Biology and Marine Biology
> Roger Williams University
> One Old Ferry Road
> Bristol, RI 02809
> arhyne at rwu.edu
> Research Scientist
> John H Prescott Marine Laboratory
> New England Aquarium
> One Central Wharf
> Boston, MA 02110
> On 1/19/13 12:00 PM, "coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov"
> <coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
> >Message: 4
> >Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2013 10:26:13 -0800 (PST)
> >From: mtupper <mtupper at coastal-resources.org>
> >Subject: Re: [Coral-List] new mystery fish
> >To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov, Eugene Shinn
> > <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
> >Message-ID:
> > <331979151.358028.1358533573075.JavaMail.open-xchange at emailmg.ipage.com>
> >
> >Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> >
> >Hi Gene and List,
> >
> >This is not terribly surprising. Since the lionfish invasion, many
> >aquarium
> >stores have replaced lionfish with Cromileptes altivelis (humpback
> >grouper) as
> >the primary "top predator" species for sale. It was only a matter of time
> >before
> >they starting showing up in Florida.
> >
> >I see from the various news articles that some people are hoping these
> >Indo-Pacific groupers will prefer to eat Indo-Pacific lionfish. Perhaps
> >(and
> >that would be great), but I bet they'd prefer to slurp up some nice,
> >spineless
> >parrotfish and wrasse and maybe a lobster or two, just like the native
> >Atlantic
> >groupers.
> >
> >Cheers,
> >Mark
> >
> >
> >Dr. Mark Tupper
> >Coastal Resources Association
> >207-10822 City Parkway, Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 0C2
> >www.coastal-resources.org
> >Email: mtupper at coastal-resources.org
> >Tel. 1-604-588-1674; Mobile: 1-604-961-2022
> >
> >Philippines Office:
> >Poblacion, Sagay, Camiguin, Philippines 9103
> >Tel. 63-927-921-9915
> >
> >On January 18, 2013 at 9:40 AM Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu> wrote:
> >>Of possible interest to coral-listers....New Pacific fish shows up in
> >>the Atlantic.. Gene
> >>http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/09/3174200/mystery-fish-invades-keys-w
> >>aters.html#storylink=cpy
> >>--
> >>
> >>
> >>No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
> >>------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
> >>E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
> >>University of South Florida
> >>College of Marine Science Room 221A
> >>140 Seventh Avenue South
> >>St. Petersburg, FL 33701
> >><eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
> >>Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
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