September 30, 2020

Throw lionfish to sharks

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1411740532327_wps_4_Pic_By_HotSpot_Media_BRAV 1411740569996_Image_galleryImage_Pic_By_HotSpot_Media_BRAV 1411740583543_wps_6_Pic_By_HotSpot_Media_BRAVBy Katie Amey From Daily Mail UK

Throw them to the sharks! Brave diver finds new way to control rising numbers of poisonous lionfish off the coast of Cuba

Marine biologist recommends regulating lionfish by feeding them to sharks

Local guides ‘teaching’ reef sharks to consume the venomous fish

This spearing experiment has been in practice since 2011

New video suggests success, sharks now eating lionfish without prompt

A diver has found a new way to control rising numbers of lionfish off the coast of Cuba – by feeding the venomous species to Caribbean reef sharks.

Lionfish, which are beautiful but deadly, possess venom in their fin rays, which makes them excellent predators and a threat to fishermen and divers.

The capture and delivery of the lionfish was photographed by French marine biologist Mathieu Foulquie during a trip to the Gardens of the Queen National Marine Park, a popular tourist destination in Cuba.

‘The pictures show the hunt for lionfish, and demonstrate how local guides are trying to control the invasive species by training sharks to eat them,’ said 40-year-old Mathieu.

‘My diving instructor, Andres Jimenez, who is also a marine biologist, shot a lionfish with his pole spear and presented it to the Caribbean reef sharks swimming around us.’

‘One of the sharks swam directly towards him to catch the lionfish.’

‘The lionfish is an invasive species in the Caribbean, but native Caribbean predators like sharks, or grouper fish don’t eat them.’

If the sharks can be taught to consume them, however, they will naturally regulate them.

Swimming at a depth of twenty five metres, Mathieu watched as Andres carefully caught the lionfish and fed it to the Caribbean reef shark, an experiment which has been in practice since 2011.

Mathieu said: ‘Only specialists in shark behaviour can try this kind of experiment, and ordinary divers and photographers should never try to feed them.’

‘As long as you stay humble and keep in mind you’re just a guest, you can enjoy the dive without any danger.’

‘From a scientific point of view, we don’t know how successful the project is. But, apparently, recent videos show native top predators are starting to eat lionfish without them being previously speared by divers.’

IMAGES:

Diver Mathieu Foulique has found a new way to control rising numbers of lionfish – feeding them to sharks

Caribbean reef sharks are being ‘taught’ to eat the lionfish by locals who spear the fish and feed them

Lionfish are venomous fish found off the coast of Cuba and are considered a threat to predators and divers

It is believed that if sharks can learn to consume them without prompt, it will help regulate the lionfish species

‘From a scientific point of view, we don’t know how successful the project is,’ Mathieu admits

‘Only specialists in shark behaviour can try this kind of experiment,’ warns Mathieu

For more on this story go to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2770954/Brave-diver-finds-new-way-control-rising-numbers-poisonous-lionfish-coast-Cuba.html#ixzz3EWN5hM4x

 

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