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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Lethal Lionfish

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One of the more dangerous fish living in our waters, the Lionfish, and sadly not due to being a combination of a south African lion and a small fish, it received its name from its long, flowing colourful dorsal fins atop its body. Although they may look beautiful, these dorsal fins are actual the reason the lionfish is so lethal to some.

This lion (not the four-legged kind) is native to the Indo-pacific region, living from 1 to 300 feet below the surface and, of course, like its land counterpart, the lionfish enjoys the warmth, despite this, they are often known to be an invasive species in the Atlantic Ocean. Growing up to, at largest, 18 inches a year, and laying up to 2 million eggs a year, this impressive species bodes quite well in life, with a very broad range of prey to feed off, Lionfish are generalists and will feed off pretty much anything they can, from small fish to crustaceans and molluscs, they can expand their stomachs up to thirty times its normal size (as most of us can around Christmas, I’m sure).

They are nocturnal, so do most of their hunting at night, using those overly large, magnificent looking fins and their bilateral swim bladder muscles to corner their prey, intimidate it and then devour it. All these spines and fins that they carry around to intimidate prey are, sadly, more than just intimidating, they’re quite venomous too, with the interesting ability to poison other marine creatures. Luckily, they are not deadly to humans, but they can cause severe pain, nausea and even paralysis, something I’d strongly recommend you avoiding (because what else am I here for if not to state the obvious!).

They have several venomous spines and non-venomous fins, on the venomous side there’s the Anterior dorsal fin, the anal spines, the pelvic fin and the pectoral fin. As for non-venomous: the posterior dorsal fin, caudal fin and anal fin. The spines they carry not only act as a hunting device but also as a defence mechanism, protecting the lionfish from its own predators.

Although the lionfish may sound completely horrendous in most cases, especially to other marine life, they are quite slow moving, which means they aren’t too much of a threat in comparison to some things below the surface, and usually they’re very uninterested in humans, as we probably don’t taste as good as crab. Being very beautiful creatures, though, means sadly they’re quite popular in the aquarium trade, which, can at times be unethical and therefore harmful; luckily they are not endangered, but pollution does put them at risk.

Isobel Fairbairn is a 22 year old first year Marine Biology student at the University of Salford with a passion for both writing and marine life. She says: “I love to share things that I learn along my journey and that’s when I decided I wanted to take my career towards writing, I’ve always wanted to write but when my two passions collided I knew I had to go in this direction.” She lives in Manchester. Her favourite fish is the Chimera Shark and she is currently undergoing her diving training with BSAC with the University’s Diving Society. “I am equal parts terrified and excited.” Follow her on Instagram: @ihf.media

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Paul Cox, CEO of the Shark Trust about the Big Shark Pledge (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Paul Cox, CEO of the Shark Trust UK about the Big Shark Pledge.

The Big Shark Pledge aims to build one of the biggest campaigning communities in the history of shark conservation. To put pressure on governments and fisheries. And make the positive changes required to safeguard awesome sharks and rays.

Find out more at: www.bigsharkpledge.org and www.sharktrust.org.


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Book Review: The Sea Lions of Los Islotes

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Review of The Sea Lions of Los Islotes – The Jewel of Espiritu Santo Island

Having dived with and filmed these amazing Sea Lions myself many years ago I was delighted to see this new book by Luke Inman. It brought back memories of the most friendly and playful animals in our marine world. Their exuberance and desire for play seems unmatched anywhere else. Luke’s book is a true celebration of the Sea Lion.

The book is well written but not overly heavy on the text. Instead there are short comprehensive paragraphs on their behaviour and lifestyle. This is all supported by plenty of images reflecting Luke’s experiences and relationship with these gregarious animals. It is not often you feel you are watching an animal smile but these do. Constantly. It is with these images Luke shares his love and enthusiasm for the Sea Lions.

In the book Luke mentions the modern day issues faced by the Sea Lions in reference to Climate change, over fishing and Ghost fishing. These are serious factors in the life of any marine animals and must not be ignored or brushed over.

Luke also briefly mentions Sea Lions in captivity for the amusement of human beings. He rightly points out that the animals suffer bad health and die prematurely compared to those in the wild. I would like to add that a Sea Lion in a tank or marine park, performing tricks, is not a Sea Lion at all. It is a low base form of its natural self and should never be captive and imprisoned in this way.

It’s a good book and well worth looking up. Especially as it is getting near Christmas.

About the author

Luke Inman is an award-winning scuba Instructor Trainer, natural history filmmaker, photographer, writer and explorer. His work includes the BBC’s Planet Earth 3, Netflix’s Our Planet and advertising campaigns. Luke is the Owner and Operator of The Dive Gurus — the only PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

The book

Release date 25 October 2022 | RRP £25 | Paperback | ISBN 978-1-909455-49-8 | 136 pages | 246 x 189 mm

Available now from Divedup.com, online and from retailers.

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