[Coral-List] Natural Predation and Lionfish

McEachron, Luke Luke.McEachron at MyFWC.com
Thu Apr 24 09:17:04 EDT 2014

Suggesting recreational or commercial divers promote fish feeding is beyond the scope of the recent JEMBES paper. Rather, the finding that groupers and sharks can "learn" to prey on lionfish complements similar research that shows targeted removal on specific reefs is the most efficient lionfish removal strategy (i.e. Barbour et al. 2011). 

Luke McEachron|Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission|727-502-4860|Fax 727-893-1679
Luke.McEachron at MyFWC.com

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Steve Mussman
Sent: Monday, April 21, 2014 4:07 PM
To: Lad at reef.org; coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Natural Predation and Lionfish

   Another example of natural balances being thrown off by careless human
   intervention. We agree that it would be nice if natural predators could help
   reef managers control an invasive species, but conditioning increasingly
   scarce numbers of potential predators to do so raises a number of ethical
   questions. As for our industry (I assume you mean diving) working hard to
   move away from fish feeding  .. . .  I have to take issue with that. Case in
   point is Stingray City and if anything, the diving industry now condones and
   extols the shark feeding concept. Both shark feeding and feeding lionfish to
   predators is being promoted as a way to advance conservation efforts, but
   are  they  really  serving the best interests of the species involved?
   Shouldn't our industry react with more consistency when addressing both
   these (feeding) issues?  It is hard for me to envision a Nassau grouper
   being more rambunctious or conceivably more unsafe than a tiger shark being
   fed no matter what the methods. Seems to me that the goal should be to
   protect them both in a natural and wild setting.     Steve

     -----Original Message-----
     From: Lad Akins
     Sent: Apr 21, 2014 11:42 AM
     To: 'Steve Mussman' , coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
     Subject: RE: [Coral-List] Natural Predation and Lionfish

   HI Steve,

   I agree that if predators could help divers then we would be achieving a
   higher level of control.  The problem is that these predators are hindering
   divers â even to the point of injury and cessation of removal efforts at
   sites where the predators have become too rambunctious.  Not sure what point
   tethering  really proves.  If someone wanted to document the effect of
   conditioned predators, simply curtailing culling at these sites in Cayman to
   see what effect the predators have would answer the question.  Barring that,
   we see from Hacekrott, Valdivia and others that top predators are not going
   to be the answer.

   What bothers me most, is that conditioning of predators (fishfeeding) is
   something  we, as an industry, have worked hard to move away from, not
   withstanding a few well-organized and controlled programs.  Now, all of a
   sudden, in the name of lionfish control, some divers are right back at it,
   often in an uncontrolled, uncoordinated manner.  It is creating seriously
   unsafe conditions and the interpretations of the tethering results are
   adding fuel to that fire.



   Lad Akins

   Director of Special Projects


   P O Box 370246

   98300 Overseas Hwy

   Key Largo FL 33037

   (305) 852-0030 w

   (305) 942-7333 c


   Lad at REEF.org


   From: Steve Mussman [mailto:sealab at earthlink.net]
   Sent: Monday, April 21, 2014 11:10 AM
   To: Lad at reef.org; coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   Subject: RE: [Coral-List] Natural Predation and Lionfish

   Hi Lad,

   I am familiar with the papers you referenced and I agree that it is likely
   there is no single factor which can control the lionfish invasion. What is
   interesting to me is that the research carried out on the reefs surrounding
   Little  Cayman seems to  dispel  the  belief that  grouper  and  other
   predators won't consume live lionfish. That reinforces my perspective based
   on anecdotal evidence provided by discussions I've had with a number of
   professional divers throughout the Caribbean region.The researchers were not
   suggesting that natural predation was a catch-all solution, but that perhaps
   it could be a contributing factor in efforts to control. In fact they seemed
   to suggest that these "natural" lionfish predators might benefit from some
   rather intensive training. Feeding on tethered lionfish is not the same as
   flushing them out of their hiding spots, but it does prove a point. I just
   returned from Bonaire where I found lionfish on every dive. They were a lot
   more prevalent than predatory grouper. Looks like we need all the help we
   can get to reverse these trends.


   -----Original Message-----
   >From: Lad Akins
   >Sent: Apr 21, 2014 7:00 AM
   >To: 'Steve Mussman' , [2]coral-list at coral..aoml.noaa.gov
   >Subject: RE: [Coral-List] Natural Predation and Lionfish
   >Hi Steve,
   >Have you seen the PLoS One paper by Hackerott et al and the more recent
   >J  by  Valdivia et all looking at lionfish populations in relation to
   >Doesn't look like large predators will be the ones doing the control. Many
   >guess that other factors like parasites, competition, possible reproduction
   >differences and/or predation on eggs/larvae help keep them in balance in
   >native range. There are many pressures in a marine ecosystem and it is rare
   >that control of anything is restricted to a single or few factors. Checks
   >and balances are more like a web than a single rope.
   >All the best,
   >Lad Akins
   >Director of Special Projects
   >P O Box 370246
   >98300 Overseas Hwy
   >Key Largo FL 33037
   >(305) 852-0030 w
   >(305) 942-7333 c
   >[6]Lad at REEF.org
   >-----Original Message-----
   >From: [7]coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   >[[8]mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Steve
   >Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2014 4:18 AM
   >To: [9]coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   >Subject: [Coral-List] Natural Predation and Lionfish
   > The study mentioned in this article may be of interest to some.
   > to-prey-on-lionfish/
   > Makes me wonder at least what might happen if healthy populations of
   > and other potential lionfish predators were readily available.
   > Steve
   > 1.
   >Coral-List mailing list
   >[12]Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov


   1. https://www.facebook.com/pages/REEF-Invasive-Lionfish-Program/124810934235590
   2. mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   3. http://www.plosone..org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0068259
   4. https://peerj.com/articles/348/
   5. http://www.REEF.org/
   6. mailto:Lad at REEF.org
   7. mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   8. mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   9. mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
  10. http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2014/04/16/Sharks,-grouper-learn-
  11. http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2014/04/16/Sharks,-grouper-learn-to-
  12. mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
  13. http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
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