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-   -   Pacific Predator Invades Atlantic (http://www.fksa.org/showthread.php?t=4402)

RickI 08-14-2007 02:31 PM

Hey Kent,

Bilge water certainly is one of the theories in play currently. It certainly has done serious documented damage in fresh water areas like the Great Lakes. That is in the marine area of the Bay? I had heard of a number of fresh water impacts but yours may be the first saltwater issue that I have come across.

Yes, popping them is certainly one option. We are very adept at depleting desirable species, clearly enough. Maybe we can do a number on this not so welcome species that may well take out snapper and grouper fry.

RickI 08-14-2007 03:21 PM

NEWS FROM THE BAHAMAS

Just got back from Small Hope Bay Lodge near Fresh Creek on Andros. Lionfish are fairly common there. On one dive on the wall, we saw three inside a small head including a juvenal. My primary camera flooded (25 yrs. since the last time) so I had no camera to use at depth. Fortunately, Nick Goddard was carrying a nice housed Canon Rebel and graciously provided the five underwater photos used in this account.

http://www.fksa.org/albums/album298/Lionfish_SHB_s.jpg
The juvenal is labeled "A" with the two adults marked A and C at around 95 ft

http://www.fksa.org/albums/album298/...sh_shb_2_s.jpg
A closer view of the trio

Nick is a dive instructor, hails from the UK and does an excellent job of running dives and instruction at Small Hope Bay Lodge just north of Fresh Creek. He comes from Marine Engineering and is on sabbatical in Andros.

http://www.fksa.org/albums/album298/...Brit.sized.jpg
Nick at the helm on the way to the reefs

Britt, also a very capable instructor and boat operator teams with Nick and other staff on runs out to the reefs several times a day. She told me about seeing 15 lionfish hanging around one of the steel channel marking structures offshore of the Fresh Creek inlet. Britt comes from a background in Geography, has a strong interest in expanding into cave diving and mapping. Like Nick, she is an effective but low key leader on the dives.

BTW, the diving is interesting and staff at SHB do an incredible job, excellent view, clear water, easy peaceful times ashore, good food, it's a great place to go hang out. The wall is impressive and comes up as shallow as 80 ft. in spots, there are a variety of blue holes to checkout and the shark dive is a hoot. We had about 12 reef sharks show up and swim around for 45 minutes. SHB is a low key, unpretentious place only 50 minutes away from Ft. Lauderdale, FL by plane. I am still evaluating this but it is possible this part of Andros may be treated to fairly regular, kiteable thermal winds. More about Small Hope Bay Lodge at: http://www.smallhope.com/

http://www.fksa.org/albums/album298/Brit.jpg
Britt checking things out

Later on in the dive we saw a particularly large lionfish at least 18 cm perhaps longer around 105 ft. near the edge of the wall.

http://www.fksa.org/albums/album298/Lionfish_b_s.jpg
The big guy

http://www.fksa.org/albums/album298/lionfish_s.jpg

http://www.fksa.org/albums/album298/Drop_off.jpg
The head the big guy was in along the wall

http://www.cgrandros.com/images/androsmap.jpg
Small Hope Bay Lodge is located just north of Andros Town on the northeast coast of Andros

On another dive along the wall, we saw FIVE lionfish distributed singly along the path of the dive.

I also met a long time resident of the area, Dr. Tim Turnbull who first dove the area in 1969. He is a marine biologist specializing in reef studies who estimates the lionfish first appeared in the area around 6 years ago.

Also, down in Key Largo I met a guy who remembers seeing lionfish around New Providence in the Bahamas about 20 years ago. I hope to receive more info from him about these old sightings.


http://www.fksa.org/albums/album298/SHB.sized.jpg
SHB, less than an hour away from Florida

RickI 09-10-2007 08:05 AM

I checked around a bit during a recent short visit and it seems that lionfish have yet to be sighted in the Cayman Islands. The Caymans are so isolated perhaps the mechanisms that are working to disperse the lionfish haven't extended to that area yet.

Have folks seen them in the Antilles yet?

RickI 09-24-2007 07:49 AM

From what I have heard, they have been seen as far north as Long Island*. The article says they will die off once the temperature drops far enough. Well, we can hope but they will apparently repopulate? They seem to be along the east coast of Florida, Bermuda, moving well down the Bahamas and into Turks and Caicos, may not be in the Caymans yet, not sure if they are in the Antilles or not. Don't know why they wouldn't be though. Has anyone heard of sightings down in the Caribbean?


*Divers have reported capturing hundreds of venomous lionfish swimming in the seas off New York's Long Island this summer, providing evidence to suggest that the non-native fish has been breeding in the area.

http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.u....php?news=1068

RickI 03-26-2008 11:09 PM

I just redid the video including content from both Bimini and Andros

I have actually learned how to process video sequences into something, sort of. Took long enough, sigh. Anyway, I have processed some of the lionfish sequences into a processed clip and have uploaded it with clearer compression on Vimeo resulting in a better video I think. Check it out above in the original posting on page one.

It also appears below:




CLICK the image to start the video

captadamr 03-28-2008 09:50 PM

Hey Rick,

We see quite a few around here (Nassau, East almost to Eleuthra and Friends have seen them in Exuma). Since we were spearing lobsters, it never hurts to get some extra target practice on lionfish. Havent left one alive yet.... Have a special spear without a barb, for easy removal, one shot to the brain and they are done after that. It may not be much, but im able to keep the reefs we frequent clean of lionfish, although I have at least 4 under our dock in the harbour :mad:

RickI 03-28-2008 10:56 PM

Thanks for the reports. I had heard about Nassau and NP, news to me about the Exumas. Sorry to hear about that. Makes sense they would be through the central Bahamas at least in time. Has any report of them came out of the SE Bahamas or Turks and Caicos? I heard that they are not that uncommon in Bermuda as well. Quite a few people have elected to shoot them when they are sighted.

RickI 03-29-2008 02:27 PM

Still more info ...

Re: Coming to a reef near you?

The government was supporting the theory of six individuals that were
bashed out a large aquarium, through a picture window of a home on Key
Biscayne during the storm surge (15 ft.?) of Hurricane Andrew.
Considering how wide spread they area, South Florida (I've yet to see
one here btw) to Long Island, NY over to Bermuda, across the Bahamas,
found out today they've been in the Turks & Caicos for many years* and
may have been seen in Honduras 20 years ago, I think that is
stretching things a bit.

Best guess they love our environment here, have no natural enemies to
speak of (heard a story about a small one being found in the gut of a
grouper, we can hope!) and breed like sea bunnies and they are moving
out. I also heard today about a raft of fry being seen under a matt
of sargassum off Jupiter drifting north.

I have read about the bilge water theory too which has propagated a
number of other serious invasive species. Not sure about that in this
case as some islands like the Caymans with a fair amount of shipping
traffic apparently don't have lionfish yet.

I understand below about 80 ft. they are very common from Melbourne to
points north. They range out to about 250 ft. too.

* Was talking to an UW Photographer at the Delray event today. He has
some outstanding Lionfish shots along with a lot of Pacific
compositions. His lionfish images were all taken in the Turks &
Caicos. He says he has seen lionfish munching normally out of bounds
cleaner fish too, nothing is sacred it seems.

--- In FITGraduates@yahoogroups.com, "Martin Stepanek" <mstepanek@...>
wrote:
>
> WOW!!!! This is a new one to me as well. Is there any widely
accepted theory
> how and why they are here? They are so beautiful but this is not right.
>
>
>
> Martin

RickI 03-30-2008 08:08 PM

The fellow I spoke to at the Delray event is Christopher of http://aquaexposure.com/, an underwater photographer of some skill. He has a killer close up (1/64 inch away form the domeport, maybe less) beak-on shot of a queen trigger. Anyway, he lived in the Turks and Caicos for about six years and saw a lot of lionfish and interactions. He was the one that told me about the consumption of cleaner fish normally safe from ells to cuddas to groupers and the dozen or so small fry sighted off Jupiter. Bet he has still more stories related to lionfish and other invasive species.

RickI 05-30-2008 04:22 PM

Just headed over to the Bahamas again. Looks like they are getting more organized to deal with the invasion, including ...

http://www.fksa.org/albums/album357/Warning.jpg

http://www.fksa.org/albums/album357/yum.jpg

Unfortunately, I wasn't around to checkout the cleaning technique (careful ... remember what happens with improperly cleaned pufferfish, whoops!) or recipes. Maybe they would send them via email?

I spoke to a local who said they have found some young lionfish in the guts of a few groupers. Wow, a local predator, we can hope so.

The Nassau Guardian has a couple of articles:

If You Get Stung By A Lionfish
http://www.thenassauguardian.com/soc...5766194018.php

Asian Fish Threatens Fishing Industry
http://www.thenassauguardian.com/bix...3304726317.php


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