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Any thoughts on why there isn’t a bounty on lionfish

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by lowlysubaruguy, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    Well, I will weigh in a bit here too. If as stated a female lion fish can produce 1,000,000 offspring per breeding, and there are many female lionfish in the Carribian, why haven't they completely taken over? The answer is that obviously, something other than diver's I simply also affecting their numbers. How about a study on indigenous fish feeding habits on lionfish, and see what's really happening.

  2. njdiverjoe

    njdiverjoe Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NJ
    As long as we are talking Florida lionfish... I'm planning on being down there next month, should I even bother bringing a pole spear?
  3. KWS

    KWS ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SE TEXAS
    My assumption is that you dont have to pay for someone to do something when they are already doing it. There is a market for lion fish in resteraunts There is no concerns of extinction. Im sure that if a diver could harvest 100 lion fish a say he could make a living. No need to regulate. Those that would give a bounty become party to any accountability some one might raise.

    Regualtions serve to promote or restrict activities. You dont want to restrict and you do not have a limit like you would with lobster and it tastes just as good. The free market provides all the incentive to promote with out government interaction.
    woodcarver likes this.
  4. KWS

    KWS ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SE TEXAS
    They is not do a study to allow them to populate there, There is enough informaton as to what they do and the threat to people when they get stung. I may be going out on a limb here but when an activity has them in captivity are they not studying them????? Then something goes wrong and the genie is out of the bottle. It sounds like a question of,,,, is there time for a study before their presence causes change that can not be corrected for. IMO -------------- NO. Left alone what will be the results. That study has probably been done.

    The study aspect is akin to saying instead or purging pedophiles from the school staff we should study them for a few years and see what makes them tic.
  5. HalcyonDaze

    HalcyonDaze Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Miami
    I can vouch that where I dive in southeast Florida, on the popular reefs where multiple dive boats drop on them every day it's difficult to find lionfish. I've participated in two lionfish tournaments where I wound up on a recreational charter that quite frankly didn't know what they were doing and dropped us off on a heavily-trafficked site like Juno Ledge; the whole boat maybe came back with one or two kills. Even if they are just in hiding, there have been studies done on what biologists call the "ecology of fear" where the presence of predators (in this case, divers) causes drastic shifts in the activity patterns of prey (in this case, lionfish). Time spent bunkered up in a hole avoiding divers is time not spent canvassing the reef for prey or mates. Other studies have indicated that if you can at least keep a lid on the lionfish at a location, the survival of juvenile reef fish at that site goes up significantly. That at least allows the native ecosystem to retain a foothold so there's something left.

    There's no silver bullet that's going to end this - I glanced at the idea of gene editing and as an ecologist and former geneticist find it laughable. If an army of recreational divers can't find and kill enough of the things to diminish the overall regional population, we're sure as heck not going to be able to catch and alter enough of them to render said population infertile. What we can do is hold the line on the shallower reefs with hunting until we either come up with a way to seriously dent their numbers beyond recreational depths or nature takes its course and local predators start eating the things regularly. My bet is on the latter prospect.
    woodcarver, gopbroek and CuzzA like this.
  6. CuzzA

    CuzzA Solo Diver

    That is my thoughts for sure. It's about the best we can expect. We need more guys like @100days-a-year hitting them hard in deeper water.

    I got a pm from a buddy regarding this thread sharing his anecdote, that even spots off the beaten path have fewer lionfish on their lf/bug hunts.

    I wonder if @Johnoly is seeing the same thing?
  7. Johnoly

    Johnoly Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    If there are lobster, then there are lionfish usually there also. We're in 140 to 90 in WPB>Jupiter>Stuart. With the good currents, if I'm not seeing what I expect within 10 minutes, I'm jumping 400-600ft east or west to the next sponge line that has not already been picked.

    I just had this conversation last weekend with several scientists at the Blue Wild. I can name a dozen popular tourist reefs in Jupiter that all added up amount to over 20 linear miles of charter boat regular drops and they don't contain even a SINGLE baby lionfish. Lad at Reef.org is seeing the same thing. In those cases, it's definitely the pressure of the divers showing elimination results.

    We know from experience how bugs move up from the 250 range to the 90's and also from the 15 foots out to the 60's. But we don't have a handle yet on when/how/why the lions move from the triple digits up to the double digits. They absolutely DON'T move with the bugs, we know that for sure. We'll figure it out, but not enough is known yet on why & when they move up. Lions are very lazy, couch potato fish and can go 3-6 weeks without eating anything before a binge fest. We have tank tests to prove that. They only move when it's a commercial on TV and get up to grab a snack and then sit in a new chair.
    Nick Steele and CuzzA like this.
  8. Rred

    Rred Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: In a safe place
    To have a bounty, someone has to PUT UP THE MONEY. Who's gonna do that? Charge a buck per fill on tank fills, and use that for the bounty? That's how things get funded you know.

    Meanwhile, lionfish are one of the few species you can:

    It also used to be really simple to get dive shops, gear makers, all kinds of folks to put up some sponsorship for any good purpose public event. Whatever they donate is a tax write-off as an advertising expense if nothing else. So if you want a bounty...go to the local chamber of commerce, go to businesses that are impacted by "there'll be no fish here soon" and start up a lionfish tournament, a day, a weekend, a week. Biggest catch gets first prize. Prize for the most pounds, prize for the most numbers. And everyone gets free bbq lionfish at the ceremony.

    "If you build it, they will come."

    I've done similar events, it is incredible how much businesses will chip in if you ask nicely and give them prominent credit.
  9. HalcyonDaze

    HalcyonDaze Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Miami
    Lionfish will also eat whatever the heck is available - including each other. Which means that even if they exterminate all the native prey items on a given spot, they're probably going to start cannibalizing smaller lionfish around them rather than pack up and move.

    The tagged lionfish in FWC's Lionfish Challenge this year may provide some interesting results if recaptured. One of the ongoing scientific arguments with lionfish and a lot of reef fish in general is how big of a factor adult movements between habitats are versus larval dispersal. If the adults are pretty much staying put and the spread is from larvae settling into new locations, that gives us a better chance of keeping them in check on the shallower spots. One of the reason the "millions of offspring" thing isn't a bigger factor is that those numbers get whittled down very steeply before any of those offspring reach adulthood.
    Johnoly likes this.
  10. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year
    Man proposes, God disposes
    image.jpeg Only the innate hubris of a man could allow him to consider a fix for a natural disaster, that was of his own making.

    Hunting them will entertain divers who have no naturalist observation skills. It will be good for the sport, attracting a new segment of customers.

    Onward, through the fog.

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