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Mar 25, 2011

Regrets about not snorkelling

The Lionfish ( Pterois antennata )

For the first time in many years, I did not snorkel on a recent Caribbean holiday.   My wife and and I have snorkelled in Mexico, The Caymen Islands, Jamaica, Cuba, Florida, Turks and Caicos, Barbados, St. Marten, St. Lucia, Aruba and Bonaire.   Two weeks ago, the whole family visited Cozumel and while I spent most of my time birdwatching and trying to get over the 400 life-birds mark, everyone else went snorkelling.   My wife, my daughters, and my sons-in-law all did it, and even my two oldest grandchildren were given a bit of an introduction to it.   I went for one short swim close to shore.   Today I was looking at The Guardian newspaper website, from England, and the saw the picture above (bottom one) of Lionfish.   The top Lionfish photo is a Wikipedia shot.   As I read about Lionfish and there invasion of the Caribbean and eastern U.S. waters, I found myself wishing I had gone snorkelling after all.   Frankly, watching schools of spectacularly-shaped and colourful fish, up close, is as thrilling as birdwatching.   I would really like to have had a Lionfish moment - not to the point where one would sting me, however.   The Lionfish is native to the Indo-West Pacific Ocean, but now has the distinction of being the first non-native marine fish to establish a self-sustaining population along the U.S. Eastern seaboard, and in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.   It was first reported in the mid-1980s along the Florida coast, but didn't become numerous until 2000.   In its new locales, it has no natural predators and is disrupting natural ecosystems and is decimating stocks of over-fished species.   Its fins give it the appearance of having a lion's mane, hence its name.   It's venomous sting is painful to humans, but not fatal.   I could find one in an aquarium, but I'm rather anti-aquarium, in the same way I'm against zoos.   I'd rather see creatures in the wild.   Please comment if you wish.
BtheB 

3 comments:

effie kadoglou said...

of course i am too of the opinion that animals must be free in the wild.but you see men are aways exploiting animals.they capture and sell them or raise them in slavery.now i regret having my 2 little turtles and not be in the position to let them free.i can see they are not happy left alone.if they were in natural environment frogs and other little red ear sliders would keep them company.as for snorkeling my son does that.and when he was on a journey in the lagoons of Tahiti,Bora Bora islands,Cook islands was doing that.we have a dvd disk from there.with other visitors were in the water and gave a hug to king rays.one sucked his belly 'cause they are giant and not afraid of people.one leader of the group was giving food to little sharks which are well fed so they are harmless.fishes there are of remarkable blue ,yellow,red and all colors.since you have been to such exotic places you know about the richness of the see.we are some 26 hours away from Tahiti.....

effie kadoglou said...

of course i am too of the opinion that animals must be free in the wild.but you see men are aways exploiting animals.they capture and sell them or raise them in slavery.now i regret having my 2 little turtles and not be in the position to let them free.i can see they are not happy left alone.if they were in natural environment frogs and other little red ear sliders would keep them company.as for snorkeling my son does that.and when he was on a journey in the lagoons of Tahiti,Bora Bora islands,Cook islands was doing that.we have a dvd disk from there.with other visitors were in the water and gave a hug to king rays.one sucked his belly 'cause they are giant and not afraid of people.one leader of the group was giving food to little sharks which are well fed so they are harmless.fishes there are of remarkable blue ,yellow,red and all colors.since you have been to such exotic places you know about the richness of the see.we are some 26 hours away from Tahiti.....

JT Stephens said...

Sorry about my late comment. This post caught my interests as I am currently studying lionfish as a profession, along with scuba diving. I have been snorkeling/diving in similar places as you have around the Caribbean, Turks and Caicos and Jamaica. It is always interesting to know the beliefs of some people who have not witnessed first hand how some species interact in a new, oblivious environment. On top of being a Dive professional, I hunt lionfish with a pole spear as my hobby in my native country of Bermuda (if you liked the Caribbean, you'll love Bermuda). As you may have read up, the lionfish invasion around the Atlantic basin is a serious threat to all of the native reefs that they are populating. The main reason that it has become a disaster is because most native fish are oblivious to the dangers of these little demons.
Commenting on your dislike of aquariums and zoos, I agree with you to some extent that some practices of these institutions are unethical; but there are some aquariums/ zoos the support and contribute to research efforts into these exotic species, therefore the animals are not just for show. For example, the aquarium, museum, and zoo in Bermuda (BAMZ as we like to call it) only increase awareness of those who have never seen these exotic creatures, and most of the species are individuals that have undergone rehabilitation and are not fit to survive in the wild. BAMZ has recreated some of the natural habitats (to the best of their ability) and have seen some breakthroughs that are unique to them.