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Lisa Stark

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The Lionfish vs. Mankind...who does more damage?

People worldwide are banding together against our mortal enemy; the Lionfish. In case you don't know what that is, here is a picture of marine fish;
http://ih2.redbubble.net/image.4481595.4907/flat,550x550,075,f.jpg

and here is the article why people are out to get it;
http://lionfishhunter.blogspot.com/

I'm currently a Divemaster in the Caribbean, and ever since I first heard about this it didn't sit quite right with me. I've debated with many of my colleagues, as well as with many officials about the idea of Divemasters/Instructors/recreational divers etc. hunting and advertising the extermination of the Lionfish. Why? Didn't we become divers to preserve and observe the beauty and unpredictability of the oceans? When did we become the rulers that decide who lives and who dies in the Ocean?

My problem here is that people are so concerned with killing a species that in actual fact is causing far less harm than those that are trying to kill it...us.

Not a few days ago I discovered a device underwater that is taking topography and sound graphs to create a new oil rig here, yet people seem too preoccupied trying to rid the oceans of the Lionfish to realize that if this oil rig is built, not only will the Lionfish be gone, but also half of the coral reef & reef fish life in these areas. In other words; in the quest to try to protect the reef by killing Lionfish, people's attention is distracted from bigger issues which will inevitably result in the same problem (reef destruction) only on a much bigger scale.

Besides, as Divers and Environmentalists, how can you expect people to take your cause serious if you then plan weekend trips with them to spear a certain type of fish? Not only have people created an entire Menu for the Lionfish Consumption, but they have also created a PADI Specialist course in Lionfishing, PADI being closely tied to; "Project Aware"...do they honestly expect people to just stop fishing them when the situation is under control????

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  • Dec 12 2011: The Lionfish or Mankind.......which is a greater blessing to the greatest number of living beings?
  • Dec 8 2011: I think you are right, there are far more immediate cocerns than a small fish in the carribean. But you must remember that a lionfish is harmful to humans, and can be fatal. Now add that fact to the media hype, and itll explode.
    It might be the case that a century ago they were all over the place, and that recent developments introduced a foreign disease that almost wiped them all out, from which they are now recovering.
    If this were to create an outbreak like the Jellyfish in Japan, then there would be cause for concern, but personally, no fish can outdo the damage done by an oil rig. Its just not possible. If one litre of oil contaminats 1million litres of water, and the gulf oil spill released 780 million litres of oil, then do the math. How is a fish going to match that?