FKA Kiteboarding Forums

FKA Kiteboarding Forums (
-   Something Rich And Strange ... Diving Tales From The Water Underworld (
-   -   Pacific Predator Invades Atlantic (

RickI 06-29-2009 08:02 AM

Just came across a listing of lionfish sightings in the Atlantic. Good luck to us, eight in Little Cayman?!.

There is a paper related to this above database at:

RickI 09-28-2009 08:22 AM

An update on lionfish. Saw some in their native digs over in the Red Sea, but only at night. Despite looking in quite a few crevices and caves never saw any in daylight, only at night. At night they seemed to follow the diving light along. Honza with the Lighthouse Dive Center in Hurghada warned they might do that. They lap up fish that might be attracted or stunned by the light. He also said they can move at blinding speed as established by a night video clip slowed down to identify a blurred object. He indicated that in daylight they might see them in caves but near the walls. At night they range more out into the open. I only spent 9 days in the Red Sea diving in a lot of varied areas but my impression is that they are more common in the Bahamas, all be it in crevices and wrecks in the day than in the Red Sea by a good margin. Also, the Red Sea lionfish displayed a curious defensive perhaps offense mannerism. They rotate their body nose downward placing dorsal fins forward and swim in that direction. In other words, spears outward and advance. I have several video clips to process showing this, stay tuned.

Some summary comments from a discussion on Facebook:
Supposedly the cornetfish is a predator in the Pacific, not sure if they act in that role here or not. Individuals have been found in grouper guts. Still, once the lionfish grow to much size, it would be a lot for some groupers to choke down. Kent shot a couple over in Bimini to see what some nearby reef sharks might do about it. They ignored which is fairly unusual when it comes to speared fish. I've heard from folks diving off Jacksonville, FL that say they see 15 on a typical wreck dive. I understand they occur out to about 250 ft., so spearing may provide limited results. I have one report of a single juvenal being seen under a sargassum mat along the shore in Miami. If they spend part of their life cycle drifting over pelagic grass mats northward with the Florida Current/Gulfstream and if they propagated in the Bahamas and Caribbean, it might explain the distribution to date. Bermuda, northern Florida up the east coast to Long Island. The Stream peppers them along the east coast, they die off in the winter along the northern stretches like other reef fish that end up in those parts. Aside from counter current eddies on the western margin of the current, there may be little to transport lionfish to SE Florida. Then there is the extensive distribution over the Bahamian plateau down through Turks and Caicos, not sure about transport mechanisms there aside from mats drifting with prevailing winds.

Just came across a summary of lionfish in their natural habitat and in our area too;

RickI 12-17-2009 04:01 PM

Just came across this regarding lionfish in the Bahamas:

Lionfish Invasion: Super Predator Threatens Caribbean Coral Reefs
By: Mark Hixon, Mark Albins, and Tori Redinger

Indo-Pacific lionfish are rapidly invading the waters of the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic. Due to their population explosion and aggressive behavior, lionfish have the potential to become the most disastrous marine invasion in history by drastically reducing the abundance of coral reef fishes and leaving behind a devastated ecosystem. Dr. Mark Hixon and his team from Oregon State University with support from NOAA’s Undersea Research Program (NURP) have embarked on the first studies to measure the severity of the crisis posed by this invasive predator.

The lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific region, have infiltrated their way into the Caribbean. Their introduction is believed to be a result of hurricanes and tank releases during the early 1990’s. They have been spotted along the eastern seaboard spanning as far north as Rhode Island to as far south as Columbia. Protected by venomous spines, lionfish are voracious and effective predators. When hunting, they herd and corner their prey using their pectoral fins, then quickly strike and swallow their prey whole. With few known natural predators, the lionfish poses a major threat to coral reef ecosystems in the Caribbean region by decreasing survival of a wide range of native reef animals via both predation and competition. While native grouper may prey on lionfish, they have been overfished and therefore unlikely to significantly reduce the effects of invasive lionfish on coral reef communities.
In the last several years, members of Dr. Mark Hixon’s lab working at the NURP Caribbean Marine Research Center at Lee Stocking Island (LSI), a field station at the southwestern end of Exuma Sound, Bahamas, have documented increasingly frequent sightings of lionfish. These findings have provided an unprecedented opportunity to study the ecological interactions of lionfish with Caribbean coral reef fish communities from the very beginning of the invasion. In the summer of 2005, they found their first lionfish near LSI. Between the fall of 2006 and summer of 2007, the lionfish population in the Bahamas increased substantially. During the summer of 2007, over 100 lionfish were spotted around LSI signifying a rapid expansion within the Bahamas.

PhD student Mark Albins of Hixon’s team devised a controlled experiment testing the effects of lionfish on native fish communities by documenting the recruitment of newly settled reef fishes on 20 patch reefs near LSI: 10 reefs with a lionfish and 10 reefs without. Fish censuses were conducted at one week intervals for five weeks. Recruitment was significantly lower on lionfish reefs than on control reefs at the end of the experiment. On one occasion, a lionfish was observed consuming 20 small wrasses during a 30 minute period.

It was not unusual to observe lionfish consuming prey up to 2/3 of its own length. Results of the experiment show that lionfish significantly reduce the net recruitment of coral reef fishes by an estimated 80%. The huge reduction in recruitment is due to predation and may eventually result in substantial, negative ecosystem-wide consequences. It is also important to note that lionfish have the potential to act synergistically with other existing stressors, such as climate change, overfishing, and pollution, making this invasion of particular concern for the future of Atlantic coral reefs.

While complete eradication does not seem realistic, affected nations are encouraged to initiate targeted lionfish control efforts as soon as possible, including targeted fisheries (lionfish flesh is tasty and cooking denatures the spine venom). Efforts to reduce densities of lionfish at key locations may help to lessen their ecological impacts. Recovering and maintaining healthy populations of potential native predators of lionfish, such as large grouper and sharks, may also help reduce the deleterious effects of these voracious invasive predators.

Hixon’s team will return to the Bahamas this summer and thereafter to conduct further field experiments, field observations, and laboratory experiments to answer important questions regarding the invasion and how lionfish interact both directly and indirectly with native Bahamian reef fish and invertebrate communities. They will also work in the Pacific Ocean to understand what naturally controls lionfish abundance in their native range.

Article including photos at:

Found some additional coverage on an NPR broadcast in August, the transcript appears at:

By the way, I saw three on the wall between 65 and 80 ft. in about five minutes on the wall off SW New Providence last weekend.

RickI 02-04-2010 09:15 PM

The first photo of a lionfish in Broward County that I've seen. Not good.

From posted by: Pompano Dive Center

RickI 07-09-2010 10:39 AM

Kent just filled me in on some interesting lionfish happenings. Hope to get him on here to add some details.

He has nailed over 80 at this point himself, usually in the Biminis where there are lots to go around. A while back he said he shot some and sharks wouldn't even take them. Since that time he tells me he has seen barracuda, grouper and even a moray eel eat speared lionfish. He has also seen them in the gut contents of grouper as have others. It was depressing when it seemed almost nothing in our ocean would touch these things even when they are perforated. Hopefully there is some predation going on without the lionfish being speared first.

What have others seen in this regard?

Also, just found this ...


RickI 07-14-2010 01:37 PM

Was just speaking with the folks at REEF, they have a course on lionfish capture tonight at Seabase MM 73 in the Keys. Sorry for the late notice. They tell me the next course (takes about two hours) will be offered in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Check the event calendar at for scheduling at:

It looks like they also discuss live capture and see a kit for this purpose:

They also discuss filing for REQUIRED PERMITTING to capture lionfish in protected parks. Sigh, we're being invaded and unlike other countries, we're worried about permits in the midst of the onslaught. Anyway, lots of Parks out there that deserve to be protected from lionfish so best to look into this as well.

Use of the cut resistant gloves, the heavy walled dry bag for transfer of the lionfish and a trident head on a pole spear is a more lethal approach folks might consider. Assume all fins and spins carry venom and protect yourself accordingly during handling of the fish.

DebbyDiver 07-15-2010 10:24 AM

GREAT resource, Rick!

I don't see the lionfish class on their calendar anywhere and, of course, I want to attend the Fort Lauderdale one. Would you mind linking to it or telling us how to find it? A site search did not turn it up either.

RickI 07-15-2010 03:56 PM

Thanks Debby! Took some digging around found it at:

It should be worth attending.


Originally Posted by DebbyDiver (Post 46008)
GREAT resource, Rick!

I don't see the lionfish class on their calendar anywhere and, of course, I want to attend the Fort Lauderdale one. Would you mind linking to it or telling us how to find it? A site search did not turn it up either.

DebbyDiver 07-15-2010 04:04 PM

That's a fish ID class, I'm trying to find the lionfish class. In fact, I can't even find the one tonight in the Keys on their calendar. They don't make it easy!

RickI 07-15-2010 05:14 PM

They said it would be posted there in the future. I haven't dealt with reef before so i guess we'll see how it all works out

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:48 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.

Do not advertise outside of [COM] Forums.
Do not show disrespect for others in your postings.
Users can be denied access to this Site without warning.
FKA, Inc., it’s officers and moderators are not responsible
for the content of the postings and any links or pictures posted.

Report Problems by PM to “administrator” or via email to

Copyright FKA, Inc. 2004, All Rights Reserved.