[Coral-List] Lionfish in the news

Jennifer Chapman jen at blueventures.org
Thu Jan 30 11:30:30 EST 2014

Dear Steve,

I agree with your point that invasive lionfish should not be used as a
scapegoat for the decline of native fish stocks, which unarguably happened
before the invasion really hit the Caribbean. However, equally unarguably,
they exacerbate the effects of over-exploitation: feeding on a variety of
juvenile fish and invertebrates, lionfish have been demonstrated to
significantly reduce fish recruitment rates (Albins & Hixon, 2008. MEPS 365:
233-238), thereby decreasing the recovery potential of depleted
populations. Anecdotal evidence from Belizean fishers indicates that
lionfish also feed on lobster roe.

The silver lining of the lionfish invasion is the opportunity to exploit an
alternative target species, diversifying fisheries and providing an
opportunity to reduce pressure on native fish stocks. The exciting finding
of this paper increases confidence that, if we target our removal efforts
appropriately, we can reduce the impact of *this* stressor to coral reefs.

However, it is important to keep in mind that this is not a magic bullet.
 Reducing lionfish populations is unlikely to result in a sudden recovery
of native fish stocks unless the other pressures that they are under are
also addressed.

Best Wishes,



*From: *Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net>
*Subject: **Re: [Coral-List] Lionfish in the news*
*Date: *28 January 2014 20:11:14 GMT
*To: *Douglas Fenner <douglasfennertassi at gmail.com>
*Cc: *coral list <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
*Reply-To: *Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net>

  It just seems to me that it has become fashionable to use the lionfish
  invasion as a scapegoat for the decline of many native fish communities.
  This  takes  the  focus  off  of  the multiple human stressors and the
  uncomfortable need to assess and manage human impacts. For example, from
  everything  that  I've read it appears that there is a more direct and
  preexistent correlation between human population density and declines in
  grouper, snapper and other predatory fish populations. Although there may
  good reason to target lionfish, it may prove more important to control
  ourselves if we are to preserve coral reefs and other marine ecosystems.

*Jennifer K. Chapman*
*Country Coordinator*
*Blue Ventures*
*Belize, C.A.*

*t   +501 667 7659*
*m +501 632 7532*

*Blue Ventures (Head Office)*

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