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Invasive lionfish have spread south from the Caribbean to Brazil, threatening ecosystems and livelihoods

One of the most damaging invasive species in the oceans has breached a major barrier – the Amazon-Orinoco river plume – and is spreading along Brazil’s…



An invasive lionfish at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico. G. P. Schmahl/NOAA, CC BY

Brazil’s coastal waters teem with a rich array of species that paint a living tapestry beneath the waves. This underwater world is particularly special because many of its species are endemic – they are found nowhere else on Earth. The southwestern Atlantic is home to 174 endemic reef fish species, each of which plays a crucial role in the intricate web of marine life.

An uninvited guest has arrived in these tropical waters: the Pacific red lionfish (Pterois volitans). Renowned for its stunning appearance and voracious appetite, the lionfish was first detected off of Florida in 1985 and has spread throughout the Caribbean, killing reef fish in large numbers.

Now it has breached a formidable obstacle: the Amazon-Orinoco river plume, which flows into the Atlantic from northeastern Brazil. This massive discharge of fresh water has long functioned as a barrier separating Caribbean fish species from those farther south along Brazil’s coastline.

Scientists and environmental managers widely agree that the lionfish invasion in Brazil is a potential ecological disaster. As a marine ecologist, I believe mitigating the damage will require a comprehensive approach that addresses the ecological, social and economic harms wrought by this predatory fish.

Lionfish have no known predators and feed on the juveniles of important commercial fish species, such as grouper and snapper.

Tracing the lionfish’s spread

It’s easy to see why lionfish appeal to aquarium enthusiasts. Native to the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific ocean, they are 12 to 15 inches long, with red and white stripes and long, showy fins. They protect themselves with dorsal spines that deliver painful venomous stings.

Lionfish were first detected in the Atlantic Ocean in 1985 off Dania Beach, Florida, probably discarded by a tropical fish collector. Since then they have spread throughout the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and northward as far as Bermuda and North Carolina – one of the most successful marine invasions on record. A close relative, the common lionfish or devil firefish (Pterois miles), has invaded the Mediterranean Sea and is spreading rapidly there.

Lionfish can be eaten safely if they are properly prepared to remove their venomous spines. In Florida and the Caribbean, lionfish hunting tournaments have become popular as a control method. However, lionfish move to deeper waters as they grow, so hunting alone can’t prevent them from spreading.

Marine scientists have anticipated for years that lionfish would someday arrive along the eastern coast of South America. A single sighting in 2014, far removed from the Amazon-Orinoco plume, was likely a result of an aquarium release rather than a natural migration.

Then in December 2020, local fishermen caught a pair of lionfish on coral reefs in the mesophotic, or “twilight,” zone several hundred feet below the mighty Amazon River plume. A scuba diver also encountered a lionfish in the oceanic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, 220 miles (350 kilometers) off Brazil’s tropical coast.

New invasion fronts have quickly opened along Brazil’s north and northeast coasts, covering eight states and diverse marine habitats. More than 350 lionfish have been tallied along a 1,720-mile (2,765-kilometer) swath of coastline.

Map visualizing the spread of lionfish in the Atlantic, with orange dots representing recorded sightings as of 2023 from the ‘Lionfish Monitoring Dashboard,’ a collaborative project spearheaded by researchers at the Federal University of Ceará, Brazil. Lionfish Watch, CC BY-ND

Aggressive predators without natural enemies

Like many introduced species, lionfish in the Atlantic don’t face natural population control mechanisms such as predation, disease and parasitism that limit their numbers in the Indo-Pacific. A 2011 study found that lionfish on reefs in the Bahamas were larger and more abundant than their Pacific counterparts.

Lionfish thrive in many marine habitats, from mangroves and seagrass beds to deepwater reefs and shipwrecks. They are aggressive, persistent hunters that feed on smaller fish, including species that keep coral reefs clean and others that are food for important commercial species like snappers and groupers. In a 2008 study, when lionfish appeared on reefs in the Bahamas, populations of small juvenile reef fish declined by 80% within five weeks.

Brazil’s northeast coast, with its rich artisanal fishing activity, stands on the front line of this invasive threat. Lionfish are present in coastal mangrove forests and estuaries – brackish water bodies where rivers meet the sea. These areas serve as nurseries for important commercial fish species. Losing them would increase the risk of hunger in a region that is already grappling with substantial social inequality.

Fishers also face the threat of lionfish stings, which are not lethal to humans but can cause painful wounds that may require medical treatment.

Five people on a small boat near shore
Fishing is a major income source for Brazilians along the coast, like these in Cabo Frio, and could suffer if lionfish predation reduces catches. Luiz Souza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facing the invasion: Brazil’s challenges

Biological invasions are easiest to control in early stages, when the invader population is still growing slowly. However, Brazil has been slow to react to the lionfish incursion.

The equatorial southwestern Atlantic, where the invasion is taking place, has been less thoroughly surveyed than the Caribbean. There has been little high-resolution seabed mapping, which would help scientists identifying potential lionfish habitats and anticipate where lionfish might spread next or concentrate their populations. Understanding of the scale of the invasion is largely based on estimates, which likely underrepresent its true extent.

Moreover, turbid waters along much of Brazil’s coast make it hard for scientists to monitor and document the invasion. Despite their distinctive appearance, lionfish are difficult to spot and record in murky water, which makes it challenging for scientists, divers and fishers to keep an accurate record of their spread.

Still another factor is that from 2018 through 2022, under former President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s government sharply cut the national science budget, reducing funding for field surveys. The COVID-19 pandemic further reduced field research because of lockdowns and social distancing measures.

Making up for lost time

Brazil has a history of inadequately monitoring for early detection of marine invasions. The lionfish is no exception. Actions thus far have been reactive and often initiated too late to be fully effective.

As one of many Brazilian scientists who warned repeatedly about a potential lionfish invasion over the past decade, I’m disheartened that my country missed the window to take early action. Now, however, marine researchers and local communities are stepping up.

Given the length of Brazil’s coast, traditional monitoring methods are often insufficient. So we’ve turned to citizen science and information technology to fill the gaps in our knowledge.

In April 2022, a group of academic researchers spearheaded the launch of an online dashboard, which is updated continuously with data from scientific surveys and local community self-reports. This interactive platform is maintained by a research group led by marine scientists Marcelo Soares and Tommaso Giarrizzo from the Federal University of Ceará.

The dashboard allows anyone, from fishers to recreational divers and tourists, to upload data on lionfish observations. This information supports rapid response efforts, strategic planning for preventive measures in areas still free from lionfish, and the development of localized lionfish removal programs.

Artisanal fishers on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast are working with regulators to curb the spread of invasive lionfish.

I believe lionfish are here to stay and will integrate over time into Brazil’s marine ecosystems, much as they have in the Caribbean. Given this reality, our most pragmatic and effective strategy is to reduce lionfish populations below levels that cause unacceptable ecological harm.

Regions along the coast that are still lionfish-free might benefit from early and preventive actions. Comprehensive surveillance plans should include environmental education programs about exotic species; early detection approaches, using techniques such as analyzing environmental DNA; citizen science initiatives to monitor and report lionfish sightings, participate in organized culls and help collect research data; and genetic surveys to identify patterns of connectivity among lionfish populations along Brazil’s coast and between Brazilian and Caribbean populations.

Brazil missed its initial opportunity to prevent the lionfish invasion, but I believe that with strategic, swift action and international collaboration, it can mitigate the impacts of this invasive species and safeguard its marine ecosystems.

Osmar J. Luiz does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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DAX – PMIs paint a bleak picture for manufacturing but China offers hope

Manufacturing remains in trouble China seeing some growth but unconvincing Bearish confirmation for DE30 index Manufacturing PMIs released throughout the…



  • Manufacturing remains in trouble
  • China seeing some growth but unconvincing
  • Bearish confirmation for DE30 index

Manufacturing PMIs released throughout the day have made for pretty miserable reading and even those in China barely registered any growth after a lengthy period of contraction.

The Chinese data did offer some cause for hope at least, despite ultimately barely sitting in growth territory. The trajectory is positive and boosted by targeted stimulus measures that are seemingly working. External demand remains a problem but a bump in domestic demand is promising.

The sector in Europe is looking particularly grim with demand remaining extremely weak, backlogs falling and layoffs expected to accelerate over the months ahead. That’s unless we can see a rebound in activity which is looking very unlikely at this stage with the global economy struggling for any positive momentum against the backdrop of high interest rates.

The PMIs from the US were a little better, particularly the ISM reading which significantly beat expectations but even here, it remains below 50 and therefore in contraction territory. With interest rates set to remain “higher for longer”, things aren’t likely to dramatically improve for the sector.

A very bearish signal for the DAX

The DE30 turned lower again today after staging a mild recovery in recent sessions and the move could reinforce bearish views on the index.

DE30 Daily

Source – OANDA on Trading View

The reason is that the move lower came after a retest of the 200/233-day simple moving average band, following the breakout last week. The rotation lower now could be viewed as confirmation of the breakout and therefore a bearish signal.

The next potential area of support could be seen around 15,000 where prior support and resistance falls around the bottom of the descending channel.

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Can An ‘Independent’ Kennedy Destroy “The Whole Left-Right Demon-Driven Pyschodrama”

Can An ‘Independent’ Kennedy Destroy "The Whole Left-Right Demon-Driven Pyschodrama"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,





Can An 'Independent' Kennedy Destroy "The Whole Left-Right Demon-Driven Pyschodrama"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,


“Intents have been overtaken by events.”

- Jacob Dreizin

You have to wonder what took Bobby Kennedy, Jr. so long to recognize that the Democratic Party was a home that he had long ago been turned out of, like a dog that has peed on the carpet too many times.

At the end of last week, Mr. Kennedy intimated that he might run for president on an independent line.

If he manages to get that line on the state ballots - and you can easily imagine New York and California trying to thwart him - it will change all the current calculations about the 2024 election.

As of right now, the Party of Chaos is living up to its name. They continue to present an obviously false and ridiculous consensus among themselves that “Joe Biden” is running for reelection. In fact, “the Big Guy” is about to get run through a wringer of the most abject public disgrace as his already-well-known crimes of bribery and treason get conscientiously laid out for all to see with cold and implacable decorum. Even the mind-fucked spawn of the Ivy League, toiling away on their CIA-owned newspapers and cable news networks, might find themselves forced to spin their narrative in a new direction.

“Joe Biden” is now a monumental embarrassment and a liability to our country, let alone to the degenerate party that owns him. Sub rosa efforts must be in motion to persuade him to resign before the impeachment inquiry spotlights all those telltale bank records, but they will fail to overcome his demented pride. He’ll ride this thing out to the bitter end, when he can use the last tool at his disposal to officially pardon everyone involved in his family’s racketeering operation. The longer the party pretends to support him, the closer the party itself skates toward self-destruction. Also consider: if allowed to play out, the impeachment inquiry will implicate the DOJ and the FBI in obstruction of justice — exposing many Deep State blob players to danger of prosecution.

Gov Gavin Newsom dangles himself above the fray as the deus ex machina who can touch down in DC and make all the Democrat’s problems go away. Such an attractive fellow! Great teeth and hair! Tall as a sequoia! And such a smooth talker! The woked-up suburban ladies who comprise the party’s main voting bloc grow moist in anticipation of Gov. Newsom landing on-stage like a demigod out of a Mozart opera.

But how do you think he’ll make out in an election when the airwaves are filled with oppo ads showing his toothy and hairy visage inset against scenes of homeless junkies and looting flash mobs? Try blaming that on climate change.

What else does he stand for? Censorship? Forced vaccinations? Child sex mutilations? Open borders? News-flash: these are increasingly unpopular, except among an easily-identified depraved elite.

Indeed, the whole Left-Right demon-driven psychodrama is proving impossible to live in as it throbs and pulsates toward something like civil war. And it has obscured the truly potent idea that the nation might actually be capable of solving its problems by facing up to them and changing how we act. That potent idea might be what voters will see in Bobby Kennedy if he can get their attention. Mr. Kennedy would dismantle the heinous partnerships between private corporations and the US government that loosed the Covid-19 op on the world and asset-strips the middle-class. He favors closing the border and a reevalution of immigration policy. He aims to negotiate an end to the ignoble Ukraine war project. He’s determined to disassemble the security state apparatus that’s destroying the US Constitution and citizens natural rights with it.

Mr. Kennedy says he can bring divided Americans together on these dire matters. It’s conceivable that his message might go over with enough rancor-weary voters to pull off a tour-de-force plurality in a three-way race, where nobody wins enough electoral votes to settle the contest, which then moves to the House, like in the old days of Jefferson and Burr. The rest is election mechanics, some of it very sinister when you consider all the election-rigging booby-traps already in-place such as mass mail-in ballot harvesting, no voter ID requirements, and the still-mysterious hookups of vote-counting machines to the Internet. But, at least, Mr. Kennedy running on an independent line will be a hard whap upside the Democratic Party’s thick skull, maybe even a death-blow to the party. They made a big mistake trying to un-person him. He’s on a hero’s journey at a moment in history when America dearly needs a hero.

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/02/2023 - 16:20

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Small Business Bankruptcies Surge In 2023, Five Reasons Why

Small Business Bankruptcies Surge In 2023, Five Reasons Why

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

Small business bankruptcies are at…



Small Business Bankruptcies Surge In 2023, Five Reasons Why

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

Small business bankruptcies are at a much higher pace than any year since the Covid pandemic...

Small business bankruptcies from the American Bankruptcy Institute via the Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal reports There’s No Soft Landing for These Businesses

Nearly 1,500 small businesses filed for Subchapter V bankruptcy this year through Sept. 28, nearly as many as in all of 2022, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Bankruptcy petitions are just one sign of financial stress. Small-business loan delinquencies and defaults have edged upward since June 2022 and are now above prepandemic averages, according to Equifax.

An index tracking small-business owners’ confidence ticked down slightly in September, driven by heightened concerns about the economy, according to a survey of more than 750 small businesses. Fifty-two percent of respondents believed that the country is approaching or in a recession, said the survey by Vistage Worldwide, a business-coaching and peer-advisory firm.

Robert Gonzales, a bankruptcy attorney in Nashville, said he’s now getting four times as many calls as he did a year ago from small businesses considering a bankruptcy filing.

“We are just at the front end of the impact of these dramatically higher interest rates,” Gonzales said. “There are going to be plenty of small businesses that are overleveraged.”

Five Reasons for Surge in Bankruptcies

  • Rising Interest Rates

  • Surging Wages

  • Tighter Bank Credit

  • Overleverage

  • Work-at-Home Curtailing Demand

Fed Rate Interest Rate Hike Expectations Are Still Higher for Even Longer

The Fed has hiked interest rates to 5.25% to 5.50%. It’s the highest in 22 years.

And Fed Rate Interest Rate Hike Expectations Are Still Higher for Even Longer

Surge in Wages

Minimum wages have surged. Unions are piling on. Small businesses have to offer prevailing wages or they cannot get workers.

In California, Minimum Wage for Fast Food Workers Jumps 30% to $20 Per Hour. Governor Gavib Newsom called it a “big deal”, I responded:

A Big Deal Indeed, Expect More Inflation

Yes, governor, this is very big deal. It will increase the cost of eating out everywhere.

The bill Newsom signed only applies to restaurants that have at least 60 locations nationwide — with an exception for restaurants that make and sell their own bread, like Panera Bread (what’s that exception all about?)

Nonetheless, the bill will force many small restaurants out of business or they will pony up too.

30 Percent Raise Coming Up!

If McDonalds pays $20, why take $15.50 elsewhere?

The $4.50 hike from $15.50 to $20 is a massive 30 percent jump.

Expect prices at all restaurant to rise. Then think ahead. This extra money is certain to increase demands for all goods and services, so guess what.

Other states will follow California.

Biden Newsome Tag Team

Biden’s energy policies have made the US less secure on oil, more dependent on China for materials needed to make batteries, fueled a surge in inflation, and ironically did not do a damn thing for the environment, arguably making matters worse.

See  The Shocking Truth About Biden’s Proposed Energy Fuel Standards for discussion of the administration’s admitted impacts of Biden’s mileage mandates.

Newsom is doing everything he can to make things even worse.

The tag team of Biden and Newsom is an inflationary sight to behold.

Bank Credit and Over-Leverage

In the wake of the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, across the board small regional banks are curtailing credit.

The regional banks over-leveraged on interest rate bets. And businesses overleveraged too, getting caught up in work-from-home environments that curtailed demand for some goods and services.

The bankruptcies will fall hard on the regional banks.

Add it all up and things rate to get worse.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/02/2023 - 15:40

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