Controlling the Lionfish Invasion: First Signs of Success

Written by on January 23, 2014 in Other News

Daily Summary

Exhibition Hall at Green Week Berlin 2013.

Exhibition Hall at Green Week Berlin 2013. Photo credit: A.Savin, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Conservation organizations uncover illegal sale of whale meat in Berlin, Germany
After receiving a tip from a news outlet, conservation groups found that Norwegian minke whale meat was being illegally sold to “unsuspecting members of the German public.” The “specialty” dish was sold for 2 Euro per serving at ‘Green Week’ in Berlin. According to WDC, Norway broke the law multiple times — first by importing the meat, then by selling it — and the customers who purchased the dish unknowingly committed illegal activity because minke whales are a protected species in Germany. The issue was immediately brought to the attention of the conservation department at the Federal Environment Ministry and is now being investigated. Check out this related post to see what sales staff at the fair had to say about it: WDC exposes Illegal sale of whale meat at major international food fair.

Underwater time-lapse shows secret life of a coral reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living organism, but lots of us don’t think of coral as a real living organism in the same way that we think of the fish and other creatures that make coral reefs their home. This time-lapse footage of the “secret life” of coral will certainly change that. Dr. Pim Bongaerts of University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute has spent five years documenting the movement, communication and interactions of living coral and he recently shared some of the footage with BBC. Check it out.

Coral reef. Photo credit: NOAA.

Coral reef. Photo credit: NOAA.


Spearfishing is currently the only way to catch lionfish.

Spearfishing is currently the only way to catch lionfish. Photo credit: Katarina and Mitja via photopin cc.

War on lionfish shows first promise of success
A new study reveals that controlling lionfish populations in the western Atlantic Ocean is possible and that it can lead to the recovery of native fish. Using computer models and 18 months of field tests on reefs in the Bahamas, scientists showed that reducing lionfish numbers by certain amounts (between 75-95 percent) will allow a rapid recovery of native fish. The really good news is that the recovery of native fish doesn’t depend on every single lionfish being caught, which would be almost impossible. This is one of the first studies to demonstrate that the reduction of an invasive species below an “environmentally damaging threshold,” rather than complete eradication, can be beneficial. On reefs where the lionfish were kept below those thresholds, native prey fish increased by 50-70 percent.

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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