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Alex_Mustard

My first Cayman Lionfish

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We returned a couple of weeks ago from a Turks and Caicos live-aboard week. I was surprised that on a couple/few dives there were not only Lionfish, but more than one. On a majority of the dives there were none. If my memory serves me correctly, it was as recent as our early 2007 trip on the same boat to the same locations that I saw my first Lionfish and it was only on one dive of the trip.

 

I quite dumbfounded the dive masters don’t eliminate these Lionfish and subsequently take control of the situation. I mentioned it to them and never received much feedback.

Edited by meister

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What percentage of the Lionfish's environment in a big area like Turks and Caicos do you think is visited by divers? I would suggest it's probably a very small fraction of 1%. That would leave 99.9+% where the invasive species is perfectly free to multiply. Sounds like trying to hold back the tide with a shovel

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With all the places I've seen them popping up across the Caribbean (especially in the last year or two), I'd say it's way to late the think eradication anymore.

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We just had a VERY interesting meeting with REEF last night organised by the local Department of the Environment.

 

The guys had lots of data, and info of local spread and population, diet, growth etc. But very little real behavior information.

 

We are apparently ahead of the curve here in Cayman and if we put our new plans into action we may succeed in not being too badly over run. REEF has figures for lots of areas and I am sure it is all available somewhere.

 

I was thinking there must be people in the indo pacific region who photogs or divemasters who have seen these guys so often they know more than studying and counting them would give you. For example, do they really only mate every 30 days ?? where and how do they mate (apart from carefully) how do they hunt, and where. We know they eat a lot and of what they eat, but REEF said they eat early morning which contradicted what they said about 6 hour digestive system, and their stomach were full at 6am (surely that makes them mostly nocturnal hunters. Also I can't believe that no one has seen anything predate on them in the wild .. aquariums have reports of grouper eating them and surviving, but sharks turning them down.

 

Anyone here have any information that would help give info on when to watch them and what to watch for in any of these circumstances?

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We know they eat a lot and of what they eat, but REEF said they eat early morning which contradicted what they said about 6 hour digestive system, and their stomach were full at 6am (surely that makes them mostly nocturnal hunters. Also I can't believe that no one has seen anything predate on them in the wild .. aquariums have reports of grouper eating them and surviving, but sharks turning them down.

 

At least in the Red Sea lionfish eat from dusk and onwards. They are very presistent followers during night dives whenever you do them, and eat a lot then. I have also seen them actively hunting during dusk and a couple of hours later in Malaysia and Thailand. With regard to their predators, I have somewhere seen a picture of a frogfish eating a lionfish and also heard of groupers eating them.

 

/Bent

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In St. Vincent and the Grenadines we taking this threat very seriously, Lionfish are very bad news for the indigenous reef populations. We are actively promoting a 'kill on sight' mentality with our local fisher folk. To date we have one unconfirmed sighting in Carriacou.

 

This is not a fish that I want to encounter in our waters.

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The following quote taken from email newsletter I received today, "Now, Belizean organizations are offering a $50.00 per fish bounty to remove the fish before they become established."

 

Anyone have spearfishing gear I can borrow? :good:

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