[Coral-List] Observations raise questions.

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 5 09:51:12 EDT 2015

I've got a few questions relating to coral reefs that came up in conversation among divers during surface intervals recently. The first relates to lionfish. Does anybody know of an area that had been invaded by lionfish that has managed to nearly eradicate them? Seems like Cozumel has them under control, at least on the near shore reefs. That's a big change in just one year. I'm wondering if hunting by dive masters could have accomplished this alone or if some level of natural predation might be at play. The downturn in lionfish numbers seemed to be accompanied by a less dramatic, but disturbing dropoff in overall reef fish biomass. This is based only on short-term anecdotal observations, but I've been diving there regularly for a long time.. So let's  say it was only a timing thing and that fish counts aren't actually down. That would bring to light the fact that many fish counts could be affected by timing and are therefore somewhat conjectural. Lastly, those advocating for a major cruise ship berthing pier in Grand Cayman are citing reef restoration projects elsewhere as evidence that any potential coral damage can essentially be reversed. I believe this creates an illusion that even major coral losses can be offset through these efforts. Although I support coral restoration projects, I never considered them a substitute for sound policies designed to protect existing natural coral reef ecosystems. One more note worthy of mention. DEMA (Diving Equipment Manufacturers Association) has actively gotten involved in promoting a petition opposing the construction of the cruise ship pier. Hopefully, this will lead to further efforts on their part to confront the myriad of threats to coral reefs worldwide.   Regards, Steve

More information about the Coral-List mailing list