[Coral-List] Natural Predation and Lionfish

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Thu Apr 24 17:25:10 EDT 2014

   Hi Luke,
   I'm not questioning the idea that targeted removal is the most efficient
   strategy to deploy in attempts to control lionfish. But like Rudy Bonn, I
   have concerns that competitions and prize money will lead to unforeseen
   damage  to coral reefs just as it has with the open lobster season and
   perhaps then we are looking at a zero-sum game. As for fish feeding, I'm
   just against it in principle based on a desire to keep the oceans wild. It
   would be nice if we had healthy populations of large predatory grouper and
   snapper that would just naturally help control lionfish populations without
   it having any adverse affects, but that may well be a fairy tale. As for the
   dive industry's advocacy regarding shark feeding (where it is legal) that's
   just an extension of a strategy based on the theory that what's good for
   business is good for America or the world I guess. I don't buy into the
   "it's for conservation" argument. That is just an extension of the same line
   that the whale/marine mammal/whale shark captivity industry has been feeding
   the public for a long time.
   By the way, you got me with that JEMBES acronym. Best I can tell that's some
   sort of West African goblet drum!

   -----Original Message-----
   >From: "McEachron, Luke"
   >Sent: Apr 24, 2014 9:17 AM
   >To: Steve Mussman , "Lad at reef.org" , "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov"
   >Subject: RE: [Coral-List] Natural Predation and Lionfish
   >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
   > 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
   > extols the shark feeding concept. Both shark feeding and feeding lionfish
   > 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
   > 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
   > tethering really proves. If someone wanted to document the effect of
   > conditioned predators, simply curtailing culling at these sites in Cayman
   > see what effect the predators have would answer the question. Barring
   > we see from Hacekrott, Valdivia and others that top predators are not
   > 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
   > **************************
   > Lad Akins
   > Director of Special Projects
   > REEF
   > P O Box 370246
   > 98300 Overseas Hwy
   > Key Largo FL 33037
   > (305) 852-0030 w
   > (305) 942-7333 c
   > www.REEF.org
   > Lad at REEF.org
   > [1]FB2
   > 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
   > Little Cayman seems to dispel the belief that grouper and other
   > predators won't consume live lionfish. That reinforces my perspective
   > on anecdotal evidence provided by discussions I've had with a number of
   > professional divers throughout the Caribbean region.The researchers were
   > suggesting that natural predation was a catch-all solution, but that
   > it could be a contributing factor in efforts to control. In fact they
   > 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
   > more prevalent than predatory grouper. Looks like we need all the help we
   > can get to reverse these trends.
   > Regards,
   > Steve
   > -----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
   > Peer
   > >J by Valdivia et all looking at lionfish populations in relation to
   > predator
   > >populations?
   > >
   > >[3]http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0068259
   > >
   > >
   > >[4]https://peerj.com/articles/348/
   > >
   > >
   > >Doesn't look like large predators will be the ones doing the control.
   >  >guess  that  other  factors  like parasites, competition, possible
   > >differences and/or predation on eggs/larvae help keep them in balance in
   > the
   > >native range. There are many pressures in a marine ecosystem and it is
   > >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
   > >
   > >**************************
   > >Lad Akins
   > >Director of Special Projects
   > >REEF
   > >P O Box 370246
   > >98300 Overseas Hwy
   > >Key Largo FL 33037
   > >(305) 852-0030 w
   > >(305) 942-7333 c
   > >[5]www.REEF.org
   > >[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
   > Mussman
   > >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.
   > >
   > >
   > >
   > earn-
   > > to-prey-on-lionfish/
   > >
   > >
   > > Makes me wonder at least what might happen if healthy populations of
   > >grouper
   > > and other potential lionfish predators were readily available.
   > >
   > >
   > > Steve
   > >
   > >References
   > >
   > > 1.
   > n-to-
   > >prey-on-lionfish/
   > >_______________________________________________
   > >Coral-List mailing list
   > >[12]Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   > >[13]http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
   > >
   > 1.
   > 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.
   > 11.
   > 12. mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   > 13. http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
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