A story about lionfish

To successfully treat and prevent diseases, a physician must be up-to-date with both “state of the art” and the happenings in the community, society, environment… Sometimes unexpected and apparently unrelated events provide both the opportunities and the challenges to learn, teach, treat and prevent. Like the story about lionfish and SJSM students…

Currently, lionfish invasion threatens to devastate the marine ecosystem around Bonaire. Native to the West Pacific Ocean, lionfish have somehow found their way to the Caribbean waters. In the Caribbean their populations are blooming because they have no enemies – even their only threats (sharks, groupers and larger lionfish) do not recognize them as their real prey. That leaves snorkelers, divers and fishermen as the only force that keeps lionfish numbers down. To motivate that force, conservationists are promoting lionfish trade and urging people to eat lionfish. But FDA warns that lionfish have been found to harbor heavy metlas and ciguatoxins thus eating them may carry a certain risk of heavy metals and/or ciguatera fish poisoning…

OKs and Buts

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times a week. But recent research finds that 84% of the world’s fish tested was not safe to eat more than once per month because of mercury poisoning.

OKs and Buts

National Geographic (and many, many cooks) claim that lionfish have “moist, buttery meat that is often compared to hogfish”…and the SJSM biochemical lab finds only low levels of mercury…But other laboratories found out that mean concentrations may differ among years and locations…

To answer the question about mercury in lionfish, a group of students investigated lionfish tissue samples for the presence of mercury. Diving – pardon – sample collection – was their small contribution to the protection and hopeful recovery of the ecosystem. Duty combined with a pleasure to dive in one of the best locations for diving in the world…

What is the moral of the story? Maybe it can be found on the poster presented on Science day…

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Medical school research: lead and mercury contamination
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