Lionfish – should we kill them?


As I sit here, yes working but it is very slow in the mall, I am really wanting to do a dive over the next two days. As I started hitting my sources to get reports and swell updates(which aren’t looking too good) I noticed a lot of comments and criticisms of the lion fish. Lionfish is a very touchy subjects with some divers and marine activists. There is the philosophy that you should not kill anything you won’t eat (which by the way, I hear these guys are a tasty treat). Then there are those who want to eliminate this invasive species that is decimating the reef life from Rhode Island all the way to the Bahamas. There are now many Lionfish tournaments from the Keys up to Lauderdale. And last there are people like me, who perhaps have not seen one yet, and are intrigued about what all the hoopla is about. I am going to create a page, dedicated to these guys. It will have background info for newbs like myself who have not seen one. It will also include a recipe section. It will include potential ways to cure the issue of them taking over our reefs and last I will post some good resources.

If you have any interesting comments or links, please let me know.

Here is the thing about me as a diver, I try to be as subjective as possible and look at the overall picture. I have been extremely frustrated over the last 4 years as I undertook my dive journey on the lack of convenient information and the viable discussion that should be present in a community where diving is so much a part of life. I do not come from the school of “Let me keep that good dive spot a secret”. I believe that knowledge is power and the more people that I, as a diver, educate and bring awareness to the plight of our oceans, the more good I can do for our marine friends.

So , please click on the links below. This will be a work in progress for my lionfish resources. I am pleased to say, that as much shore diving as I do, I have never seen one of these guys. I have had other divers come up in the same areas and have them bagged for dinner but not once I have seen one. Perhaps this is a good thing!

Basic Facts – The Lionfish is an Indo-Pacific fish with venomous spikes that grow all over it. They have been spotted from as far up as Rhode Island and down into the Bahamas and Caribbean. They will have red and/or maroon and white stripes. Do not let the exotic beauty of the creature deceive you! If stung, immerse wound in very hot water (100-110 degrees F or 38-43 degrees C) for 15-20 minutes. Do not burn skin and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

    Identification:


• Red, maroon, and white vertical stripes;
• Fleshy tentacles above eyes and below mouth;
• Fan-like pectoral fins;
• 13 long separated dorsal spines;
• 10-11 dorsal soft rays;
• 3 anal spines;
• and 6-7 anal soft rays;
• An adult lionfish can grow as large as 18”

Indo Pacific Red Lionfish have no natural predators; they are skilled at out-competing the native species like the Nassau grouper and are eating an unsustainable amount of juvenile reef fish, lobster juvies and shrimp. I have heard that grouper are eating them and I will delve into this more. This may be a good thing as we are seeing a resurrection in the population of the massive goliath groupers. A single adult female can lay as many as 30,000 eggs every four days. They breed every 55 days. Native to the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean, there are many rumors about this invasive fish from accidentally being released in the Carolinas, to a tank getting damaged during a hurricane and fish getting released.


Lionfish characteristics

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About daniellesdives

diving enthusiast
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