The time is now to fight the dangerous Lionfish

  • Photo by Mark Tatem
Corey Eddy demonstrates the proper way to clean and scale the Lionfish during July's Lionfish Tournament and Fry Up at BIOS in July. The animal's dorsal spines are poisonous, but the rest of its flesh is edible and chefs report it is easy to work with and tasty.

    Photo by Mark Tatem Corey Eddy demonstrates the proper way to clean and scale the Lionfish during July's Lionfish Tournament and Fry Up at BIOS in July. The animal's dorsal spines are poisonous, but the rest of its flesh is edible and chefs report it is easy to work with and tasty.

  • Photo by Mark Tatem
Mike Gasciogne demonstrates how to cut off the Pacific Lionfish's dorsal spines (which are poisonous) during the Lionfish Tournament and Fry Up at BIOS in July. If not stopped, or at least its numbers cut down, the fish could severely damage Bermuda's underwater life. It has no known predators in the Atlantic.

    Photo by Mark Tatem Mike Gasciogne demonstrates how to cut off the Pacific Lionfish's dorsal spines (which are poisonous) during the Lionfish Tournament and Fry Up at BIOS in July. If not stopped, or at least its numbers cut down, the fish could severely damage Bermuda's underwater life. It has no known predators in the Atlantic.

  • The Lionfish, a predatory fish native to the Pacific ocean, began appearing in the Atlantic near Florida about 20 years ago. Since then, it's numbers have rocketed up and countries in the western Atlantic and Caribbean have raised the alarm as it has cut numbers of native and endemic species on the delicate reefs that protect the region. A Lionfish Taskforce has recently formed in Bermuda.

    The Lionfish, a predatory fish native to the Pacific ocean, began appearing in the Atlantic near Florida about 20 years ago. Since then, it's numbers have rocketed up and countries in the western Atlantic and Caribbean have raised the alarm as it has cut numbers of native and endemic species on the delicate reefs that protect the region. A Lionfish Taskforce has recently formed in Bermuda.


Dire warnings emerge from recent workshop

By Derek deChabert

Plans are being formulated to rid local waters of Lionfish which are wreaking havoc on the local fish population.

Jim Gleason, executive director of the Ocean Support Foundation, along with a team that will be selected in coming weeks, will form the Bermuda Lionfish Taskforce which will attempt to combat its emergence in Bermuda.

In recent years the population of the species has risen drastically, with local divers and lobster fishermen confirming that large schools are being found in shallow waters where fish nurseries are located.

They can also be found up to 200 feet below sea level and along reefs, something that could prove to be a disaster to the Island if action isn’t taken.

Mr Gleason, who was on hand at a recently completed workshop on Lionfish at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, is anxious to get the project underway in an effort to stop the pest from causing any further destruction.

“A Bermuda Lionfish Taskforce is being put in place to begin drafting the plan and every participant of the workshop has pledged their continued support and input into the process,” said Mr Gleason.

“The information we are getting regarding this year versus last year’s catches and spearings, indicates there is a definite increase both by lobster fishermen and the number of lionfish being speared, such as the reports from Triangle Diving, who indicate they are spearing a great deal more.

“A female lionfish can lay up to two million eggs a year and have reproduction cycles of about every three to five days, so their population growth can be rapid.

“Left unchecked, their invasion will seriously impact the local commercial fishing industry, tourism, and other sectors of the economy.

“Although we don’t know the exact population currently in the waters of Bermuda, we must start right now to devise and implement control measures or the battle will be surely lost.”

The Ocean Support Foundation and its partner organisations hosted a two-day workshop earlier this week as well as an evening presentation.

The two-day workshop and evening lecture featured two of the top lionfish researchers in the Western Atlantic, Dr James Morris Jr of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Lad Akins of the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF).

The pair have led similar workshops in numerous jurisdictions across the Caribbean, Mexico, and Florida.

Attending the workshop were representatives from a coalition of government departments, science and environmental organisations, the Marine Resources Board, the Bermuda National Trust, the Tourism Commission, commercial fishermen, dive shop operators, divers, and other key stakeholders from across the Island.

The Lionfish invasion has been deemed one of the worst environmental disasters ever faced by the region, but Mr Morris and Mr Akins were guardedly optimistic that Bermuda may have a chance if action is taken now and act decisively.

“They were impressed by the diverse group that attended the workshop and the consensus that was reached on the many facets of developing a control plan,” Mr Gleason said.

“We were successful in accomplishing these outcomes and they will become the framework for drafting Bermuda’s Lionfish Control Plan.

“The public presentation covered the most up to date lionfish information from across the Atlantic and summarised the results of the two-day workshop.

“Dr Morris chronicled the lionfish invasion in the Atlantic and Mr Akins spoke to how citizen volunteers are making an impact on the lionfish invasion.

“The two-day workshop was designed to help Bermuda develop a long-range lionfish control programme.”

You must be registered or signed-in to post comment or to vote.

Published Oct 13, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm)

The time is now to fight the dangerous Lionfish

What you
Need to
Know
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon

  • Take Our Poll

    • "Your new year's resolutions for 2019"
    • Quit smoking
    • 4%
    • Quit drinking/drink in moderation
    • 7%
    • Do not drink and drive
    • 2%
    • Lose weight
    • 40%
    • Stop procrastinating
    • 22%
    • Drive with greater care
    • 2%
    • Other
    • 22%
    • Total Votes: 2607
    • Poll Archive

    Today's Obituaries

    eMoo Posts