Invasive Lionfish ResearchLatest update January 22, 2019 Started on October 25, 2018
Lionfish are a non-native species of fish that are threatening reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic. REEF is at the forefront of addressing the lionfish invasion in the region. Our work includes field research, education, training, and market development. One of the challenges facing researchers is the ability to observe lionfish populations and impacts in waters deeper than recreational diving limits. REEF is proud to partner with OpenROV to help with our deepwater work.
Made it to Little Cayman with the REEF Grouper Moon Little Cayman team and our new Trident. First dive of the Trident into the Conch Club pool for practice was a fun success. Still more practice dives and obstacle courses to master before we hit the deep reefs!
Speared a lionfish off the reef during the dive for dinner tonight, filleted with a very dull steak knife! Tomorrow we will send the Trident out into the South Sound. Stay tuned.
Made it to Little Cayman with the REEF Grouper Moon Little Cayman team and our new Trident. First dive of the Trident into the Conch Club pool for practice was a fun success. Still much more practice and obstacle courses to master before we hit the deep reefs!
Speared a lionfish off the reef during the dive for dinner tonight, filleted with a very dull steak knife!
Tomorrow we will send the Trident out into the South Sound. Stay tuned!
Happy New Year! We arrived back from the holidays to a fantastic present waiting for us from OpenROV. Our new Trident has arrived with all it's fun accessories. Setting it up on land this week before we practice our driving skills next week in the calm South Sound of Little Cayman with the Grouper Moon team.
Great article here about the REEF Upper Keys 2018 Derby and Forever Young Charter Company who have played an integral role in removing lionfish in the Florida Keys!
Planning for the 2019 Lionfish Derby Series is in full swing. Stay tuned for dates and details coming soon!
Another fun workshop in Stuart, Florida November 30! Thank you to all the staff at Stuart Scuba and the participants for coming out and their dedication to help reduced lionfish populations.
Our youngest participant, 11 year old Kennedy was the star of the boat spearing six lionfish and filleting her catch for dinner that night!
The next workshop is December 19th in Miami.
Testing out our GoPros and Intervalometers today to deploy for field test next month. Need some new batteries and some SD cards seem to have gone on a walkabout. Making a list for cyber week shopping!
DEMA Lionfish Update Panel
Excellent turnout at the lionfish panel on Saturday November 17th despite being 8:30AM on a Saturday. Thank you to all the panelist for providing a comprehensive update this year! Great feedback, discussion and questions from the audience! Panelists included: Brian Asher Coast Watch Alliance; Alli Candelmo REEF; Alex Fogg Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners; Stacy Frank Lionfish University; Steve Gittings NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries; Jay Maly and Georgi Merlusca Scuba St. Lucia; Bob Harris DEMA Legislative Consultant; Stephanie GreenUniversity of Alberta
Thank you to MARES, Lionator and Zookeeper for the raffle prizes!
Last week REEF was at DEMA in Las Vegas! Exploring new technology and solidifying collaborations and conservation partners.
We had a chance to stop by the OPENROV Trident Booth. Hoping to be able to send one down in the Florida Keys soon and search for deepwater lionfish!
GCFI attendee playing a virtual reality lionfish hunting game displayed at the conference year. Sponsored by Coralina and developed by Mesata Films of Columbia
REEF was in San Andres Island, Columbia last week at the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute 71st Annual Conference. This year's theme was "Tourism in the Caribbean: challenges for the management of fisheries and coral reef ecosystems."
It was a great opportunity to learn about the current regional research and management efforts and to brainstorm and network about future projects.
Lionfish Collecting & Handling Workshops
Our First Lionfish Workshop of the 2018/2019 season was a huge success in Big Pine Key, FL. 42 participants now have the tools and training to continue removing lionfish on their own. Thanks to Captain Hook's Strike Zone Charters for taking us diving! Participants also learned about how to help monitor for rapid tissue loss disease in corals that day!
The REEF 2018 Derby series wrapped up in September with over 200 participants and nearly 3.500 lionfish removed from the Florida reefs! Plans for the 2019 are underway. We will continue to expand our derbies to include more culinary tastings and outreach and educational demonstrations to inform the public of the threats of lionfish and how delicious they are. Eat em to Beat!
Derbies also foster collaborations between scientists, managers and fishers to lead to innovative research ideas and management strategies. Lionfish management and research is unique from other marine fisheries because it has the benefit of everyone working together for the same cause: remove as many lionfish as possible!
This season we received a lot of great media coverage. Check out this BBC Earth piece on lionfish from our Fort Lauderdale 2018 Derby at 15th Street Fisheries.
The crew from VICE News Tonight on HBO joined the REEF and team Proweb/Zookeeper during our Upper Keys Lionfish Derby in September 2018. Team Proweb/Zookeeper competed in each of the seven REEF derbies this year and captured 673 of the 3,429 lionfish caught this season. From the Fort Lauderdale area, the team traveled across the state to compete and contribute to lionfish removal efforts.
Check it out the VICE News piece here, lionfish starts 18:30...
Invasive species, like lionfish in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean, can wreak havoc on native populations. In addition to conducting innovative lionfish research, REEF is a leader in addressing the invasion by developing response plans, organizing removal projects, assisting with the development of commercial markets, and educating the public about the detrimental effects of invasive and non-native species. Through this expedition, we will share updates from the field, classrooms, and REEF Headquarters in Key Largo, Florida.
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