Divers targeting lionfish on Florida reefs

Posted: 08/23/2012 in all marine news

The Miami Herald – 

On her first-ever scuba diving adventure on the colorful coral reefs and blue holes south of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, underwater photographer Maggie Martorell of Hollywood immediately noticed something was missing.

“Where are all the little tropical fish ?”

Martorell wanted to know. The reef looked healthy; stands of mountainous star coral jutted up from the ocean floor, interspersed with tangled branches of staghorn.

Soft corals, such as sea whips and sea fans, undulated with the gentle current.

A few groupers swam around the entrance to a marine cave that descended into darkness in the middle of the reef tract.

But Martorell was alarmed by what she didn’t see — convict-striped sergeant majors busily patrolling the reef to protect their mass of lavender eggs; brightly hued parrotfish munching the thin coating of algae covering the coral; angelfish, gobies, surgeonfish and others meandering around, doing whatever it is they do in a typical day.

Then, as Martorell swam around with her camera, she saw a large lionfish sitting boldly outside a cavern.

A few minutes later, she spotted another of the peppermint-striped predators, then another.

They weren’t even trying to hide from the photographer and her fellow divers.

Full story…

Lionfish

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