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Old 18-10-2009, 13:32   #1
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Lionfish in the Bahamas

Since a lot of cruisers are planning to go to the Bahamas this winter, I wanted to point out what is going on with the Lionfish. Native to the Pacific, the Lionfish has established itself in the Atlantic in only the last few years. Five years ago they were almost non-existent, now they are common from Bermuda all the way to Belize, including the whole East coast of the US, Bahamas, Virgin Islands, and the Keys. In their natural habitat of the Pacific, lionfish populations are normally around 2.5 per hectare, but because they have no natural predators in this ocean, REEF studies have shown counts as high 50 per hectare off of North Carolina and 200-300 per hectare in the Bahamas and other warm areas. They are also larger, and are having a devastating impact on the juvenille marine life because they are such voracious eaters.

Although their dorsal fins are venomous, they can still be safely speared, and are considered to be a fine tasting fish. Care needs to be used of course with the handling and preparation. A lot of effort is being taken in the Bahamas to educate people on what a fine food fish they are so that more can be done to contain their expanding population.

If you're going to be snorkeling in the Bahamas this winter, please help out with the eradication efforts. Here are a few links with more info.
www.lionfishhunter.com
Invasion of the Lionfish | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine#
Foldspear, THE choice for lionfish hunting
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Old 18-10-2009, 14:28   #2
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Thanks for bringing this back to the forefront.

See also: Lionfish Invasion
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Old 18-10-2009, 14:45   #3
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Thanks for the information. I'll try to do my part when I'm there.
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Old 18-10-2009, 16:55   #4
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Not only in the Bahama but also here in Cayman and as far south as Bonaire that I know of. Find out what the local laws are before helping cull the population. In Cayman there is a special licence to allow you to break 5 marine laws to hunt this invasive species, it's easy to get but nessecary.
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Old 18-10-2009, 17:07   #5
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Originally Posted by nautical62 View Post
Thanks for the information. I'll try to do my part when I'm there.
What ^^^ said,
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Old 18-10-2009, 17:11   #6
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Having been stung by a lionfish, I know that it's not a wonderful experience
Hot water is very good at breaking down the venom.
Treatment of Lionfish Stings | EISF.org
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Old 18-10-2009, 18:47   #7
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Please be careful - they hurt like heck.

And yes, they've been reported to be EXTREMELY tasty!
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Old 18-10-2009, 20:25   #8
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One thing about lionfish, they have to be one of the easiest fish to spear that I've ever seen. They just hang in the water, seeming to have an attitude of, well come on then, do you fancy your chances against my spines. The first time I tasted one, I couldn't believe that they were not more widely eaten, just plain delicious.
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Old 19-10-2009, 07:22   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmartinsen View Post
In Cayman there is a special licence to allow you to break 5 marine laws to hunt this invasive species, it's easy to get but nessecary.
I'm glad to hear that Cayman is letting people hunt them. I've been wondering about what the non-spearfishing islands like Cayman, Bonaire, Turks and Caicos, etc. are doing. With all of it's dive tourism, Cayman has a strong interest to control the population. Lionfish City may not go over as well as the Stingrays.
Bermuda has held lionfish hunting tournaments, as well as the Bahamas, but the Turks & Caicos are trying to get people to catch them, Turks and Caicos SUN Newspaper which sounds a lot tougher than spearing them.
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Old 19-10-2009, 07:38   #10
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June of 08 we ran across one just left of pig beach at Big Major.....i2f
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Old 19-10-2009, 07:50   #11
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So, if you spear one, do you simply cut off the spines? I can imagine it must be a trip to clean and gut them.....
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Old 19-10-2009, 07:53   #12
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Trying to stay ahead of the problem here in Bermuda

Can't seem to get the link to work.
Take a look at Bermuda Gov-BREAM project.

Edit: Add links -

http://www.royalgazette.com/rg/Artic...&sectionId=146

http://bermudabream.blogspot.com/
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Old 19-10-2009, 08:15   #13
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So, if you spear one, do you simply cut off the spines? I can imagine it must be a trip to clean and gut them.....
Because the toxin breaks down with heat, I've seen some use a small propane torch and heat up the fins to neutralize the toxin before cutting off the fins. Thick gloves are probably a good idea when cleaning....

I've read both, that the toxin breaks down after the fish dies, and that it doesn't and stays potent for days.

www.lionfishhunter.com has some video links and info on cleaning them. There are also a bunch of youtube videos.
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Old 19-10-2009, 09:38   #14
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More information about Lionfish is available from organizations participating in research on the lionfish invasion of the western Atlantic and Caribbean:

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
http://www.ccfhr.noaa.gov/stressors/...ecies/Lionfish

Essential Image Source Foundation
Lionfish Invasive Species Education & Outreach | EISF.org

Reef Environmental Education Foundation
Lionfish Research Program | Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)

Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation
Invasive Species

Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
http://www.floridamarine.org

US Geological Survey
Nonindigenous Aquatic Species

Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo

BAMZ - Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo
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Old 19-10-2009, 09:40   #15
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Not reading the links, but I recall a story that this is directly due to people and businesses releasing these fish into the wild from their home aquariums. Not to start a firestorm or anything, but whoever says man can't have a major impact on the Earth's environment is demented.
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