SponsorsThe following people, organizations and companies have been instrumental in getting the Reef Guardian project operational, we apologize if we have missed anyone out but so many people have donated time and their expertise it really has been a community effort. Kathryn Bell-Brunn
Premier Ralph T. O'Neal, OBE
Joseph Abbott- Smith
BVI Conservation and Fisheries Dept.
His Excellency The Governor Mr. William Boyd McCleary
BVI National Parks Trust
UBS Dive Center
BVI Web Design
Fort Wines and Spirits
The ProblemThe Indo Pacific lion fish is a beautiful but ferocious predator, after being accidentally released into the Atlantic Ocean in 1995, their numbers have swelled and their journey through out the Atlantic, into the Caribbean basin and now into the Gulf of Mexico has been without a doubt the most impressive invasion of any marine creature. The reason for their success into the Caribbean is because of the fishes omnivorous appetite and hunting strategies. Lion fish will eat anything up to half the size of their own body which includes vertebrates and invertebrates, also at risk are sea urchins, brittle stars, crabs shrimp, mollusks and all of the conch family. Lion fish can eradicate 80% of juvenile fish population in as little as five weeks. Thus taking away the food source of other commercial species, such as groupers, snappers, and the herbivores that are important to protect coral from algae growth. Research has yet to find another fish including sharks that will eat a live lion fish in the Atlantic or Caribbean. In the Pacific they have natural predators which include a specific grouper that is not found in the Caribbean. It has been proven in the Caribbean it is not only the first generation of coral reef life that is at threat, but because of their unique second fatty stomach the lion fish will wait for over six months for the second generation of juveniles to be born to consume them. Therefore within 2 years the coral reef along with all of its life supporting species will be in danger or die. In studies each lion fish eats between 30 to 40 fish per day. In some of the hardest hit areas where lion fish are residing there can be as many as 1,000 lion fish per acre.
Please log your lionfish sightings, markings and kills here!