Guy Harvey Magazine

FALL 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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www.GuyHarveyMagazine.com | 61 When the school year began, there was no doubt in his mind that he would go above and beyond expectations. Leading the Covenant Christian School Students Involved in Marine Systems (CCS SIMS), Camperman embarked on a mission to aid the bout against the enigmatic and elusive lionfish. The students involved were Kirsten Messer, Matt Hollo, Kylie Tharp, Handel Sim, Dalton Claghorn, Angel Elnas and Noah Odom. These students, together with Camperman, have expanded the normal classroom to research and work on eradicating the invasive lionfish species. Since the 1980s, the spread of lionfish across the Western Atlantic, Gulf Coast and Caribbean has been staggering. Because they can live up to 16 years, lay up to two million eggs a year (which escape predation due to repellent in egg masses), and eat non-stop, the invasion has caught the attention of governmental agencies, non-profits and student groups like ours. They devour nearly any species in their vicinity, including small snapper and grouper, which could devastate the fishing industry. For these reasons, the CCS SIMS decided to join the clash against lionfish. In the 2016–2017 school year, we devised a plan to create a prototype trap. During our research, we crossed paths with Dr. Steve Gittings, chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary Program, and were given the opportunity to help him test his trap designs. These days, Dr. Gittings is on a mission to create traps that will attract and catch lionfish. His goal is to design a trap that minimizes bycatch and avoids ghost fishing, so the "purse trap" was born. This trap utilizes the lionfish's love of structure as well as their nonresistant actions. While almost any other fish would dart away when a trap is closing around them, lionfish just stay still. Therefore, to reduce the bycatch rate, Gittings has designed a trap that is manually closed upon retrieval. It is a flat, circular trap that hinges across the center, allowing it to close like a taco. Structure, called a FAD (Fish Aggregation Device) is placed in the center instead of bait, which would quickly "Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do." These famous words by William Faulkner perfectly depict the personality of David Camperman, a marine biology teacher at Covenant Christian School in Panama City, Florida. Left: Kirsten Messer, Matt Hollo, Kylie Tharp, Dalton Claghorn and Handel Sim show their model of Dr. Steve Gittings's purse trap and bucket FAD recovered from 80-feet-deep in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Tricia Petty. Above: Native to the Indo-Pacific, the lionfish has become a significant invasive species in the West Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Mediterranean Sea.

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