Earlier this year a representative of the Bermuda Aquarium expressed his view that the lionfish invasion in Bermuda was not a serious threat. Now an experienced scuba diver is voicing a different opinion, that the lionfish problem in Bermuda is more severe than people think:
The threat of lionfish decimating local fish stocks is far worse than many Bermudians realise.
Already the species has had an adverse effect on juvenile fish stocks in the Caribbean. And, unless measures to prevent the proliferation of lionfish in local waters are stepped up, expert deep sea diver Graham Maddocks fears the same could happen in Bermuda.
“The lionfish is here and the thing that they are doing is wiping out our juveniles that the average person doesn’t notice. You don’t notice that the juveniles are not there unless you are a scuba diver,” he said. “As a fisherman you don’t notice that the juveniles are not there because you are catching your big fish. But once those big fish are gone then there’s nothing to take their place.”
With most of the local population focused on current world events such as the ailing economy, Mr Maddocks says not many people are aware of the threat lurking below the water surface.
“Some people are saying they don’t see them in the shallows, and that’s a good thing,” he added. “This means we still have a chance because the moment you start seeing them up and around the rocks and docks it’s too late. It means they have built their forces from 200ft and they are filling the water all the way up to the shallows and it’s a problem that’s going to get out of control very quickly.
According to Mr Maddocks, lionfish have entrenched themselves at depths of nearly 200ft around the Island and are gradually advancing inshore. The species was first spotted in local waters in 2000 and based on their ability to reproduce quickly Mr Maddocks isn’t surprised to see their numbers have swelled in the past decade.
“On our recreational dives we are seeing them almost every single dive that we go on and it’s almost like some sort of horror movie because they are gathering their forces at 200ft and then coming up into the shallows to spawn,” he said.
Read more in the full article from the Bermuda Royal Gazette.
Previously on Green Antilles: In Bermuda, the lionfish invasion is deemed to be under control.
[Photo: Zach Frailey]