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November 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 28, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Good News about Lionfish Culling in the Caribbean

from the November, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Undercurrent subscriber Russ Knapp (St. George Island, FL) just returned from Grand Turk and reports that the native fish population is the healthiest he has seen it in years, thanks to several years of divers spearing lionfish there. "Groupers have been eating the speared ones," he says. "However, if you go outside the park where they aren't being culled, lionfish are everywhere."

Knapp's commentary seems to be backed up by science. Two years of field studies at Little Cayman shows that lionfish hunters are having a dramatic impact in protecting reef fish from the voracious predators. Researchers from the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) found that dive sites, between 50 and 90 feet deep, where lionfish were systematically culled had 70 percent more native fish compared to nearby sites where lionfish populations weren't touched. A previous study the CCMI did with the University of Florida also showed that lionfish density was consistently lower on sites where cullers were active....

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