REEF Lionfish Research Featured on National Geographic and AP

Venomous lionfish prowls fragile Caribbean waters
RELEASE DATE
08/27/2008
CONTACT
Lad Akins, REEF Director of Special Projects, lad@reef.org, 305-852-0030 (o), 305-942-7333 (c)

REEF's critical research on lionfish is currently featured as a video story on the National Geographic Daily News website.  This video story follows a series of stories by the Associated Press earlier this month, as well as on the daily cable show Fox Live Desk and NBC Nightly News.

The Lionfish studies have been part of a collaborative program between REEF, NOAA, The National Aquarium in Washington, the USGS, Simon Fraser University, Oregon State University, the governments of the Bahamas and Bermuda, Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas and Bruce Purdy's Blackbeard's Cruises and Aquacat. Tagging studies, removal (culling) efforts, activity and movement documentation, trap design and other control measures are being implemented to direct our efforts both in the US and Bahamas where the fish are established as well as in downstream Caribbean countries in the path of the invasion. While the research efforts are being conducted to better understand lionfish and their impacts, REEF is also leading the way in working on control. REEF recently hosted a workshop for more than 20 State and Federal agency offices that outlined early detection/rapid response plans for South Florida and will serve as a model for the rest of the Caribbean.

Associated Press (AP) contacted REEF about three weeks ago regarding the lionfish invasion in the Caribbean. Lad Akins, our lionfish expert and project leader put together a list of resources, experts, wrote a script, and secured all the footage needed to produce these stories. Looking closely at the video you will even see REEF’s Executive Director, Lisa Mitchell, handling a bag of lionfish and Lisa, Lad, and REEF Board Member Andy Dehart bagging and tagging specimens in Nassau.

REEF continues to work on focusing attention on and seeking solutions for this growing environmental problem affecting reefs in the Caribbean basin. For more information check out the REEF Exotic Species webpage, the REEF Field Surveys and Trips webpage and to support our work on this project, please visit our Donate Now webpage.

Special thanks to Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas and Sally Burrows, camera woman extraordinaire, for providing the support necessary to help REEF make this footage possible.

The National Geographic Video can be seen here:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/08/080822-lionfish-video-ap.html 

Anna DeLoach, a regular contributor to Scuba Diving Magazine, produced this 5 minute video that summarizes the work REEF is doing on coordinating the Pacific Lionfish invasion. This video, produced especially for Scuba Diving, takes a look at the recent lionfish population explosion, the reasons lionfish are the perfect invader and how they got to the wrong sea.  
http://fw_scuba.permissiontv.com/index.html?showid=899010

Links to some of the AP stories are here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080813/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lionfish_invasion_8

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184738/from/ET/

A YouTube video, that includes dramatic footage of lionfish in the field is here -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar0CX8dj948 

The Fox News story will be posted to their website -- http://www.foxnews.com/livedesk/

The NBC Nightly News interview is posted online here -- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/#25462218

Indo-Pacific Lionfish cover a patch reef in the Bahamas.: Photo by Rich Carey.Indo-Pacific Lionfish cover a patch reef in the Bahamas.: Photo by Rich Carey.

Design by Joanne Kidd, development by Ben Weintraub