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Indo-Pacific lionfish have invaded large parts of the western Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, and have already caused measurable declines in native Atlantic reef fauna. Culling efforts are occurring across the region, particularly on coral reefs, to reduce local lionfish abundances. Frequent culling has recently been shown to cause a shift towards more wary and reclusive behaviour by lionfish, which has prompted calls for halting culls. However, the effectiveness of culling per se is not in question. Culling successfully lowers lionfish numbers and has been shown to stabilise or even reverse declines in native prey fish. In fact, partial culling is often as effective as complete local eradication, yet requires significantly less time and effort. Abandoning culling altogether would therefore be seriously misguided and a hindrance to conservation. We offer suggestions for how to design removal programs that minimize behavioural changes and maximize culling success.
This seems to be more of an opinion piece, without providing any new evidence. It might be more interesting to know the reasons people advocate a halt in culling. Also, it would be interesting to have a costing of how much culling costs, is it sustainable?