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#12409
Lionfish in the Caribbean, what should a diver do when one is found?
Brian_V - 10/18/2013 9:24 AM
Category: General
Replies: 10

If you’re diving in a place like Bonaire, which is a Marine Preserve, and you come across a Lionfish, what do you do?



Being a Marine Preserve, you shouldn’t harm ANYTHING, but according to the studies attached to this thread, Lionfish are decimating the small fish populations throughout the Caribbean!



So do you kill it, mark the location for a Preserve Ranger to collect it, or just leave it alone?



Study: Caribbean Fish Can’t See Lionfish; ’Practically Unstoppable’:
http://www.underwatertimes.com/news.php?article_id=35761012908

Study: Caribbean Lionfish Decimating Tropical Fish Populations, Threatens Coral Reefs; ’Voracious Predator’:
http://www.underwatertimes.com/news.php?article_id=12596347010

Study: Extent And Speed Of Lionfish Spread In U.S. Waters Unprecedented; ’Nothing Like This Has Been Seen Before’:
http://www.underwatertimes.com/news.php?article_id=01428635971

Researchers: Lionfish Invasion Continuing To Expand; ’Native Fish Literally Don’t Know What Hit Them’:
http://www.underwatertimes.com/news.php?article_id=10956430128
#1359
RockRat2008 - 10/18/2013 10:45 AM
Since everyone who dives in Bonaire has to go through an orientation/bouyancy control check with the Bonaire National Marine Park I would say ask them what they want you to do.


Bonaire Dive Orientation
If you are planning a trip to Bonaire that includes diving, you will be required to attend a Bonaire National Marine Park Orientation/Briefing prior to your first dive on the island.
#12409
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Brian_V - 10/18/2013 10:54 AM
From RockRat2008: ...If you are planning a trip to Bonaire that includes diving, you will be required to attend a Bonaire National Marine Park Orientation/Briefing prior to your first dive on the island.

Yes, we went through that orientation prior to diving. They handed out a bunch of yellow plastic streamers which divers would attach to the reef when a Lionfish was found, then you notify the Marine Park Rangers of the location of that marker. The problem is that at some dives sites, you’d come across a dozen of these markers, and nearby would be a Lionfish, some of the markers had algae growing on them, so they were in there for quite some time. That’s what made me wonder if I should just kill the Lionfish right then & there and get it off the reef. I didn’t do anything to the fish, but just kept wondering if I should have.
#12409
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Brian_V - 10/18/2013 10:59 AM
The disturbing thing about the Lionfish in the Caribbean is the size they were! I’ve seen Lionfish in Fiji and Palau, they were never bigger than 3 to 4 inches long, but in Grand Turk they were HUGE!!! Some as long as 8 to 10 inches and really FAT!!! They were the size of Scorpionfish!!!
#1359
RockRat2008 - 10/18/2013 11:02 AM
From Aikidiver: Some as long as 8 to 10 inches and really FAT!!! They were the size of Scorpionfish!!!



WOW! That’s crazy! I agree personally that killing them onsite is the best option, but don’t know what the repercussions would be if you were caught actually killing one?
#15312
LatitudeAdjustment - 10/18/2013 11:18 AM
Ditto, many of the Atlantic Lionfish are huge, bigger than anyones I’ve seen in the Pacific because the Atlantic tropicals haven’t learned to flee the pretty fish :(

The problem with letting anyone spear is if they miss the fish learns to hide when spearos approach, somewhere I have a picture from NC of a fish hiding from a spearo right next to a photographer, they know the difference!
#12409
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Brian_V - 10/18/2013 12:10 PM
...it’s weird, they seem to know that you won’t do anything to them! After finding one in Bonaire, as a joke I picked up a big rock and held it right over one sitting on the reef, just trying to see what reaction I’d get from my dive buddy John, he just laughed, but the fish just sat there, didn’t even flinch! I put the rock down and we just left it alone! But I could easily have just dropped the rock and that fish would have been a gonner!
#98
Henrydjones - 10/20/2013 11:48 AM
Bonaire allows and encouages the taking of Lionfish. No longer do they ask you to mark the spot for someone else to come back and catch the fish.

I agree with "uwlove4u". It’s to late to try to eradicate. When man starts that kind of action it always end ups with unintended results.

It’s true too that Lionfish are learning to hide and run from humans. You will find that most of the larger Lionfish are deeper where divers do not go.
#17311
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Smithsgold - 10/21/2013 6:04 AM
Kill them