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

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Fri Mar 11 16:08:53 EST 2016

I believe that most here would agree that attempting to mitigate the impacts of lionfish by having divers remove them is a good idea as long as care is taken not to harm coral reefs in the process. The next step in your "eco-solution" is a bit more complicated . . . and controversial.  Should we be feeding lionfish to other marine life in the hope that this would induce some level of natural predation or biocontrol?   I'm not qualified to answer that, but you might find some useful insights in this paper and rebuttal on the subject.      http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0021510#s2              https://peerj.com/preprints/141/       
I'd like to add one more thought. I am concerned about the growing trend throughout the diving industry that in effect encourages provisioning as an acceptable way of promoting human interaction with sharks and other marine wildlife. Instead, shouldn't we be inspiring divers to develop an appreciation and concern for conserving and maintaining the natural world? After fifty years of diving I'm still exhilarated by experiencing the wild. I don't need or want to convert diving into a series of contrived underwater circus acts. If we want more thrilling interactions with sharks and other marine life, let's do what is necessary to protect and conserve them and the overall health of their increasingly imperiled marine ecosystems.

Steve Mussman
Sea Lab Diving

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