Tuesday, 06 November 2012 11:02
by Patrick Flanagan
Foreign predator found in Gulf
The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies recently released video footage of the first Lionfish — a highly venomous marine fish native to the western Pacific Ocean — spotted off the Texas coastline.
Aside from making their way into saltwater fish aquariums, Lionfish are not native to the waters of this hemisphere. But according to HRI researchers, the number of lionfish living in the Gulf is growing, mostly in waters between Louisiana and Florida. Here’s what they say about the species:
Because they have few natural enemies, lionfish may negatively impact native species in the newly-invaded ecosystems.
While lionfish do not pose a danger to beachgoers, they are a concern to fishermen and divers because of their venomous fin rays. A lionfish sting can cause extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, breathing difficulties, convulsions, dizziness, and, in rare cases, can cause temporary paralysis of the limbs, heart failure, and death.
"The presence of invasive lionfish in our offshore waters is disconcerting due to their aggressive nature, high spawning activity, generalist diet, and because they lack many predators,” says Dr. Matthew Ajemian in a prepared statement. “Reported sightings in the Texas coastal area are rather recent and, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first confirmed video documentation of a lionfish from the Texas coastal region. We will be continuing our ROV based surveys through next year. These continued surveys will allow us to examine the pervasiveness of these lionfish across dozens of artificial and natural reef locations off the Texas coast.”
Go here to read more on what the new species could mean for the Gulf of Mexico and to view the recent footage of a lionfish captured off the coast of Corpus Christi.
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DEC 6 Here we are, at the top of another bad list: this time, Louisiana has the (dubious) honor of beating out all other states when it comes to gutting higher ed funding, this Picayune story reports. The American Association of Colleges and Universities says our cuts (nearly 18 percent this year alone) are the highest in the nation. Three-fourths of the states increased funding last year, with the top spender increasing funding by 28 percent. This is a great legacy for our governor, right?
DEC 6 Blogger Lamar White Jr. takes a look at the creepy effort over in Baton Rouge, wherein the southern, lily-white area of the city wants to secede from the union, er, create its own "city" and take all the really fat sales tax cows with it. Turns out the group campaigning for the move is a for-profit corporation, and Lamar says that means its effort won't pass legal muster.
DEC 6 Blogger Tom Aswell tells us about some fishiness he found in the state worker's comp office. There's some confusion about when one guy started working there, and there's also some involvement by a GOP lege from Hammond. It's all just another example of the Jindal administration's actions that "defy explanation," Aswell says.
DEC 6 Edwin Edwards may think it's possible he will be governor again, but columnist James Gill isn't so sure. Edwards would have to get a presidential pardon to run for governor -- unless he wants to wait until he's 99, Gill says. But even Edwards' many supporters should probably hope he doesn't get that, because there's no real chance he can win, Gill says.
DEC 6 Here's an interesting post on DIG Magazine for football history buffs. It's about the Pelican Bowl, the Bayou Classic and the history of black college football. It's a trip down memory lane and the story of a "mythical black college national crown." What killed it? Trying to compete with the Bayou Classic.
DEC 6 Nelson Mandela became famous while sitting in prison, where he was a symbol of apartheid. But his enduring legacy was his ability to forgive, to reach out a hand of peace to heal his country of division and oppression, and the Picayune talks about this aspect of his personality. The story also reminds us of the more light-hearted moments Louisiana shared with the former President of South Africa.
DEC 6 We've all been passed by a nut on the highway and assumed the driver was on drugs. Maybe that's not hyperbole: here's a story from the Picayune about a guy riding around with a meth lab in his back seat. One wonders if his insurance policy included coverage for random explosions.
DEC 6 Here's a new blog in the NOLA Defender; it's called Shift Change, and it's all about cocktails. This installment by Rhiannon Enlil focuses on the sazerac, the enigmatic cocktail made with absinthe. But Enlil also introduces herself, a long-time NOLA bartender who has "a lot of booze" in her house.
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