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Old 07-31-2007, 10:56 AM
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Default Pacific Predator Invades Atlantic




We were free diving on a small sailboat wreck reportedly dating from the 1800's a few miles north of of North Bimini in the Western Bahamas yesterday. What should Dr. Denis, a Marine Biologist, see but a Pacific Red Lionfish, likely Pterois volitans. Denis and I grew up diving in Ft. Lauderdale.





It was a shocker to me having grown up seeing delicate images of Lionfish with the understanding that they were Pacific fish and never occurred in Atlantic waters. Denis had heard of other sightings in the Biminis in recently. I did a little searching and found out that the Red Lionfish has been sighted up and down the east coast of the USA including Florida as well as in various islands in the Western Bahamas. The Lionfish usually are found only in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.



Red Lionfish distribution per http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/galler...rlionfish.html


The video clip of lionfish in Bimini and Andros appears on Vimeo appears below. I think the compression there results in clearer clips than on youtube.


The same clip of poorer image quality on youtube appears below. It is interesting what manual compression & processing will do for you.




I wasn't trying to disturb it unduly despite appearances.



Not being aware at the time of the degree of documentation already in place about the appearance of this species in foreign waters I made a point of showing off native species and biotope characteristics in the photo background. Not in the Pacific.


Lionfish congregate at times in their natural ranges. I don't know if this behavior has been observed in the Atlantic yet or not. Young lionfish have been seen going back years in this area suggesting that populations are reproducing. Some are aggressively harvesting (spearing) lionfish when found in Atantic waters in an effort to try to reduce potential ecological damage from this invasive species. It is possible that the lionfish has no predators in the Atlantic unlike in its home waters. It could do a lot of damage, largely unpredictable at this point. Shooting them may make sense.


More about the Lionfish and appearance in western Atlantic waters at:
http://www.coastalscience.noaa.gov/d...ionfish_ia.pdf
http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/a...lionfish.shtml
http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/galler...rlionfish.html


And envenomations (it seems reasonable to want to see a doctor in any case if you are stung):
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-1...ture/index.php






Get used to the sight and prepare to intercede with caution with these guys unless word to the contrary comes out.



https://hendrikgheerardyn.com/natura...ik-gheerardyn/
Take comfort in this parting point, only about 140,000 pythons have been brought into the USA. Who knows how many have been released into the "wild." Man's stupidity and indifference at times can be overwhelming.

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Last edited by RickI; 06-28-2019 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:13 AM
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That lionfish use to be in someone's fish tank, right?
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:22 AM
The Kite House The Kite House is offline
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Hey Rick, there was an article in a spear magazine a while back, calling for spear fisherman to shot them anytime they saw them up and down the east coast and they gave areas. They destoy the fish population, nasty little things, and they are not fromthe waters, but adapt very easy. I will look for the article to send you. Have fun!
Damn is it hot here, where is the wind?
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Kite House View Post
Hey Rick, there was an article in a spear magazine a while back, calling for spear fisherman to shot them anytime they saw them up and down the east coast and they gave areas. They destoy the fish population, nasty little things, and they are not fromthe waters, but adapt very easy. I will look for the article to send you. Have fun!
Damn is it hot here, where is the wind?
Hey Paul,

That is what Denis said and did. I am amazed at how fast they have apparently spread. It would be good to see the article if you can find it. Are you still in Peru? Must not be and yes it is really hot!
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Old 08-01-2007, 04:06 AM
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I just came across a short online reporting form for lionfish sightings,

http://www8.nos.noaa.gov/nccos/ccfhr...ishreport.aspx

If you have seen any please help NOAA to better understand what is going on with the invasion.


A short video clip about the invasion and quite a bit of other information appears at:
http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/educati...h/welcome.html

A lot of good info appears at:
http://www.coastalscience.noaa.gov/d...ionfish_ia.pdf
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Old 08-01-2007, 06:47 AM
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Very interesting stuff.
I have to claim ignorance as a young guy on the idea of exotics and competition with native species.
Back when I was in high school I had a salt water fish tank. When things in it got too big for my tank I released some to the Gulf. The fish stores wouldn't take them back, so I released of couple of exotic moray eels to the Gulf by a huge rock formation near DeSoto fishing pier (we called them snowflake eels) as well as panther grouper. I included a pic.

Do you ever see any of those while diving? SO many people buy those panther groupers when they are small, then they grow really fast and eat everything, that I can't be the only one to have released one. I wonder if they have established populations in some areas.

Hard to believe some exotics are introduced on purpose by agencies for one reason or another and of course you know about larval inverts and ship ballast water.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra_mussel

Last edited by Skyway Scott; 01-02-2008 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
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That lionfish use to be in someone's fish tank, right?
Probably not. Doing a rapid search of the literature online, lionfish have been sighted at least 7 years back along the east coast of the USA. One account had it that one was seen off Honduras 20 years ago. It is reasonable to conclude that the invading populations have become established here.

Its distant ancestors may have been in someone's fish tank however. Welcome to the neighborhood.
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Old 09-24-2007, 07:49 AM
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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
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:43 PM
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Bad news from the Caymans ...


Dr Mustard Column: Lionfish Update
Back in September I wrote an article in this column wondering when lionfish would make it to the Cayman Islands. To re-cap, the Indo-Pacific Lionfish, is not naturally found in the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea. However, in the early 1990s lionfish, presumed to be released from aquariums, started breeding off Florida and their population has rapidly spread. Initially this invading species was confined to Florida and the Carolinas, but in the last couple of years they have really proliferated and have been seen as far north as New York, as far east as Bermuda and are spreading southwards into the reefs of the Caribbean.

At the end of January I also mentioned the issue during my presentation at the Cayman Underwater Film Festival, asking if anyone had yet seen a lionfish in Cayman. Despite having much of the Cayman diving industry in the audience nobody came forward with information - so I concluded that the lionfish weren't here yet.

Then at the beginning of February, I got an email from Ben Webb, Dive Operations Manager at Reef Divers on Little Cayman. Ben told me that several of his guests had seen a lionfish on Bloody Bay Wall a few days earlier. When it comes to generating reliable data for a scientific study I am wary of trusting diver observations. Just ask any of OF's boat captains to repeat some of the funnier descriptions they are asked to decipher, even with common species like tarpon.

What I really wanted was a photo - the camera never lies and all that. And that was exactly what Ben had. Many thanks to guest Jim Matzke, who grabbed the first shot of a lionfish in the Cayman Islands on Bloody Bay Wall. It may not be technically perfect, but it was a perfect picture for me. Finally, proof of a Cayman lionfish. The second better quality image was taken by Matt Lewis from Reef Photo, Reef Divers of the same fish still on Bloody Bay Wall a couple of weeks later. Ben assures me that this is the same fish and it seems to have grown quite a bit.

So far the Little Cayman lionfish is the only one that has been seen and photographed in the Cayman Islands and the Department Of Environment have already captured it. So if you do see a lionfish anywhere in Cayman waters please take a photo and send me an email. Pictures don't need to be award winners, it is the record that counts. For those keen to learn more, check out Ned DeLoach's excellent article on the subject in the March 2008 issue of Scuba Diving Magazine.

http://www.oceanfrontiers.com/files/...ters-current#3
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:56 AM
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