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

Damien Beri beridl at g.cofc.edu
Sat Mar 12 14:02:58 EST 2016


Thanks for your input.  

Here I will propose a series of argument points that seem most critical, followed by my conclusion based on what I have heard this far. Thank you for your time, please read what I have wrote thoughtfully and fully.  Please do not skip over parts or sections you don't understand, as each aspect and sentence is critical.  If you don't understand something please let me know, we all have different ways interpretation. 


We aren't going to stop people from hunting Lionfish.  

Carribean dive industries will not give up spearing Lionfish.

We know average grouper sizes needed for effective biocontrol on Lionfish is negligible in the Carribean, as the average size of grouper is 178g respectfully, when it needs to be 1000g<

Humans introduced Lionfish; our interaction with them goes beyond, "should we hunt them," we are responsible for them.

Lionfish cannot be "fished" for by rod a reel.  They are also the only species of fish that people can use diving equipment to hunt, for the most part.  This makes your average Joe diver able to effectively hunt, kill, and promote predator interactions on a more regular level.

Culling of Lionfish on reefs has shown positive increases in natural predation on Lionfish.  I will provide a video in which I prove that Groupers, barracuda, and sharks will seek out Lionfish for divers to kill.

Regardless of whether we feed Lionfish to sharks, morays, or groupers, the act of hunting the Lionfish has unarguably proven to increase dangerous and "scary" interactions with natural predators.  Whether we leave the Lionfish dead/injured on the reef, or take it to the surface we are seeing increased reports of diver to predator interactions, some being dangerous.

If one wants to argue that we should keep Lionfish in a container on a dive, than that's by far the most absurd argument there is.  Last year a student was dragged to their death by their "Lionfish container."  Why would you cover yourself in the smell of dead fish?

The fact of the matter is, we need to implement select regions where dive industries and non-profits can make money off of the tourism attractions this activity provides.  However, people should be aware of what they are going into as we can never fully predict the outcome.  I wouldn't be surprised to see companies like PADI begin to offer certifications for Lionfish feeding, a two week course seems pretty lucrative.  We need to, as a community developed and effective way to manage this activity.  Perhaps an NGO non-profit that certifies and regulates this activity of "predator feeding," while allocating profits to more research on the topic, instead of people bashing the idea right away because "your not an expert."  The people who I worked with doing this were the ones who started it.  By no means are they an expert, but by no means do we have a scale to compare this "expertise" to!

I see no scientific study that proves that more dangerous diving interactions between predators and divers are a direct result of said predators being directly fed by humans.  On the contrary, these predators, when stimulated by; smell, spear action, and diver presence, actually get more aggressive when they know their is edible, injured fish around, and they can't find it because it's mixed in with a group of divers inside someone's container or on the end of a spear.

Warm regards,

Damien Beri


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