[Coral-List] Teaching Mega-Fauna to eat Invasive P. Volitans

Matt Davies daviesm42 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 10 11:03:56 EST 2016


I agree with Paul. There is very little concrete evidence that feeding
lionfish to sharks will lead to those predators hunting uninjured lionfish.
Although Diller et al. (2014) found both sharks and groupers will prey on
tethered, uninjured lionfish; and that this predation is greater on reefs
that are regularly culled than on those that are rarely culled.


Regarding safety concerns, I certainly cannot condone feeding lionfish to
predators. Here in St Eustatius I cull lionfish almost every day, and
encounter sharks whilst doing so almost as often. We never feed the sharks
that inevitably begin to circle. Despite this I have had several sharks
become aggressive, including biting my spear. Furthermore, the sharks here
have begun to come and make close approaches to divers who are not culling
lionfish. It seems to me that even in the absence of feeding, they are
beginning to associate divers with food.

Whilst I will freely admit your video looked exhilarating, I would not have
been comfortable in that situation. When there are multiple sharks circling
you things can go from fairly calm to very dangerous in a matter of
seconds. You may think you can read the sharks or the situation, but
predicating the actions of multiple wild predators is very difficult and
usually impossible.


On Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 6:01 PM, Paul Hoetjes <phoetjes at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Damien,
> Feeding lionfish to predators is not only NOT a solution, but also a really
> really bad idea. First, you cannot possibly train enough predators to eat
> lionfish to have any measurable effect, and since there is no train the
> trainers program for predators, they will not teach their fellow predators.
> Predation on lionfish will happen naturally or not at all.
> Second, these misguided attempts have led to many serious incidents and
> dangerous situations all over the region. When you teach potentially
> dangerous predators that humans will feed them, they will become
> conditioned to this and will start looking for food from any diver, often
> harassing or even attacking them. This has led to serious moray bites and
> shark bites of people hunting lionfish but also of people who were just
> diving and had no idea why they were suddenly attacked. Not good for
> tourism, and definitely not ecotourism.
> Just a very bad idea!
> Best,
> Paul
> On Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 2:58 PM, Damien Beri <beridl at g.cofc.edu> wrote:
> > Hello my esteemed coral enthusiasts,
> >
> > Here's a topic for debate,
> >
> > Ecotourism or Eco-Solution?
> >
> > As we all know the Lionfish invasion of the Caribbean has severely
> altered
> > the feeding structure of the present reefs.
> >
> > While some may could find it controversial to work hands on with animals
> > of these communities to try and develops their taste for this insidious
> > white meat, I would like to know your thoughts.
> >
> > Here is a video where I am directly feeding live Lion Fish to some pretty
> > massive Black Tips;
> >
> >
> >
> > https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0rRTUjldicU
> >
> >
> >
> > Please let me know your thoughts on the PROs Vs. CONs of this mitigation
> > method.
> >
> > Let's make helping the reefs exhilarating!
> >
> > Warm Regards,
> >
> > Damien Beri
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Sent from my iPhone
> > _______________________________________________
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> > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> >
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