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Lion Fish found at two Dive Sites
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Page 1 of 1Total of 19 messages
Posted by:Oct 23rd 2007, 01:33:20 am
KimberlyWill, this one's for you!
Posted by:Sep 26th 2007, 08:28:02 am
smittyTher's a lot of information on the Lionfish on the internet.I use Yahoo but I'm sure other engines are just as informative.There range on this side of the globe is from Long Island,NY to the Carribbean.They seem to be all over the place and have no natural enemies.
Posted by:Sep 25th 2007, 07:49:49 pm
woodnstufIn the areas where lionfish are supposed to naturally dwell, what is the main predator that keeps them in check? It seems unrealistic to eradicate it by catching the odd one here or there. Careful thought needs to be placed about introducing some of it's predators over here as they can be equally destructive. Just a different angle on a possible solution. But once again the matter has to be well researched first
Posted by:Sep 13th 2007, 04:37:20 pm
Fig Tree News TeamA new and dangerous predator

Dear Editor;

Without trying to whip up any hysteria, I would like to point out that Bahamians should be alarmed about the ever increasing sightings of a new and dangerous predator lurking in Bahamian waters. No, it isn't the great White Shark, but something much smaller called the Lionfish.

The Lionfish made its début in The Bahamas just in the past five years and its overall impact is yet to be properly assessed. Judging by the destruction that it has done in other parts of the world, it's a sure bet that The Bahamas can expect the same treatment from this aquatic demon.

With no known enemies in The Bahamas and an abundance of food, the Lionfish is expected to multiply at an exponential rate. Even at this early stage of its development, the government of The Bahamas must make it a priority to deal with this potential menace as the presence of the Lionfish could adversely affect so many different areas of life in The Bahamas. The Honourable Larry Cartwright, the Minis-ter of Agriculture and Fisheries, needs to make a public statement as to the position of the government on this matter. Failure to do so or to simply ignore this matter could spell disaster for The Bahamas.

The reason why the Lionfish is such an undesirable character is its ability to deliver a painful and venomous sting from a number of dorsal and ventral spines. In humans it can cause a number of bizarre symptoms, including nausea, convulsions, paralysis and even death! It has the ability to inject a neurotoxin into an open wound that results in an intense pain that lasts for days.

The Bahamas being the watersports and dive capital that it is now has the possibility of these industries having to adapt to a riskier operation. This of course could negatively impact The Bahamas' number one industry: tourism. Just one incident with a tourist being injured or, heaven forbid, fatally injured, will be an incident that we will all regret. This could spell the beginning of the end for the Bahamian tourist industry as we know it.

Another reason for concern of what is being described as an invasive species is the fact that it is now competing with Bahamian fisherman for some of the prize catches of the Bahamian seas. Accord-ing to the August 24, 2007 issue of The Nassau Guardian, it was reported by a group of researchers that the Lionfish has an insatiable appetite for snappers and groupers. Also, the possibility of the vital lobster, the pillar of the Bahamian fishing industry, as well. Both the lobster and grouper are already restricted because of the fear of over fishing. This new competition will put further demands on these already strained industries.

The Lionfish has been an attraction for many years. This is due in part to its unique and exotic appearance. Many persons have had them as household pets in their home aquariums. They are indigenous to the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean. It is possible that their marketability around the world could have provided some explanation as to why they are now being found so far away from their natural habitat. It is also possible that either through ignorance or intentions, the Lionfish were introduced into the Atlantic. Persons emptying an aquarium tank may have simply thrown the Lionfish into the sea.

I was shocked in Harbour Island just last week when I was told that a dive shop had two Lionfish in its aquarium. However, when I arrived at the dive shop, the Lionfish were nowhere in sight. I was informed that a couple of weeks earlier that they had been released back into the wild. I then requested them to be more specific as to what they meant. Yes, they had been released back into the sea!

At the Grand Bahama Regatta, I did get into a couple of casual conversations about this phenomenon called the Lionfish. But, it wasn't until a few days later when I went to Eleuthera that the extent of the magnitude of the Lionfish problem could be fully appreciated. From Harbour Island all the way down to Wemysis Bight, concerned persons openly expressed their concerns about the flourishing of the Lionfish.

Even in small settlements such as Savannah Sound, I spoke with an individual who claimed that they had recently killed two Lionfish at a reef where the presence of other fish was noticeably absent. Or, Wemysis Bight, where an individual was out looking for lobster, but all he kept seeing "were those damn Lionfish!" Even off the world famous Pink Sand's Beach, the most beautiful beach in the world, snorkelers reported seeing a number of Lionfish near the shores as there are some areas where the reefs come right up to the shoreline.

A couple of days later, I happened to be in Nassau. Once again and without my prompting, another individual brought the subject up with regards to the proliferation of the Lionfish. He also commented that he now wears a full wet suit when he goes spearfishing. The purpose of the wet suit is not protection from the cold, but for protection from the Lionfish that he now frequently encounters in the areas east of Nassau and especially around the Rose Island dive spots.

It is reasonable to predict that surveys done in other areas of The Bahamas will reveal the alarming rate at which the Lionfish are multiplying. This is a situation that must be kept in check; otherwise, it could be something that all Bahamians live to regret. The Ministry of Health needs to establish a protocol and publicize it as to what needs to be done should an individual be the victim of a Lionfish sting.

Other suggestions to help control the Lionfish population includes placing a bounty on captured Lionfish. This will also help to replace income that may be lost by some fishermen due to the proliferation of the Lionfish. Some persons also feel that there could be a market for the Lionfish as a seafood delicacy in some Asian countries. However, what is unacceptable is the widespread sale of the Lionfish as pets, either locally or for export.

The risk of careless or culpable individuals who may re-introduce these demons back into the marine ecosystem should be held criminally liable. Like some other species of marine life, for example those on the endangered species list, mere possession of Lionfish should be made a criminal offence. With the world's third largest coral reef ecosystem being in The Bahamas, the potential devastation from this culprit goes well beyond the borders of The Bahamas!

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Leatendore Percentie

Posted by:Sep 13th 2007, 02:10:10 pm
KimberlyAny updates on the issue? I see a lot of conversation at the various Bahamian websites, but nothing official from Nassau.
Posted by:May 25th 2006, 01:53:26 pm
Shark BoyThe "introduction", if you will, of Lionfish into Atlantic waters has been a growing problem for over ten years now. Mote Marine on the Gulf Coast has linked if definitively to personal aquariums. Lionfish are prodigious maters and can quickly fill a tank. It is probably due to their beauty that people dont give them the same treatment that they would a goldfish, and as Andy points out, they have no natural predators in this sea.
They pose a similar threat to fisheries as rabbits did to Australian farming when introduced to the continent in C.19. AT the end of the day, they must be exterminated.
Posted by:May 11th 2006, 10:13:50 pm
TMI saw one last april in about 10 feet of water just off the beach while snorkeling in front of the house we rented called landfall.
Posted by:May 1st 2006, 03:48:58 pm
KittyIt was amazing to be on the dive that discovered the first lion fish. We are very suprised to learn there was a second one found. Looking forward to hearing what the Ministry wants to do about them.
Posted by:May 1st 2006, 12:29:34 pm
Ocean FoxThe pertinent question, however, is not whether they do live here (we have photos to prove that they are here in the tropical North Atlantic), but whether they should live here. All the reference books I have consulted say "No".
Posted by:May 1st 2006, 10:35:12 am
ColinI may have been wrong. I was at the Shedd Aquarium in Chcago this weekend and asked one of their reef experts whether lionfish live in the Caribbean. She said she thought they do.
Posted by:Apr 28th 2006, 10:19:26 am
smittyExcellent, Colin.Very funny.Comforting to know there's a sick mind like mine out there.I'm still giggling...
Posted by:Apr 27th 2006, 06:13:44 pm
ColinSmitty, Smitty, Smitty. Lionfish only drink stingers....
Posted by:Apr 27th 2006, 03:30:20 pm
smittyAh yes, the notorious Lionfish.I once knew a sweet little thing from Newark we called the Lionfish.Drop dead georgous but what a sting.Had a left hook that could take your head off after a beer and a few Carstairs.Lucky to escape with my life.Fortuneately I was able to introduce her to Martinis just in time to save my self.Whew.Wonder if she's still around.
Posted by:Apr 27th 2006, 02:38:48 pm
ColinI bet you a million bucks --or maybe a nickel -- these are aquarium refugees. Lionfish are quite a popular fish, partly because they are great fun to feed! Watch those goldfish get gobbled!!

And I bet folks have softheartedly put them in the Atlnatic rather than flush them down the toilet or throw em in the trash. There is no good reason for them to be in the Atlantic.
Take it from an old aquarium and dive hand.
Posted by:Apr 27th 2006, 01:48:57 pm
KimberlyWhat climate change or other issue do you see being the reason for these lionfish to be visiting our waters, which you as you note is so out of character for the species? I'd like to figure out why they're here, before asking them to leave or attempting to blow them out of the water (as it were) ... thoughts? Suggestions?
Posted by:Apr 27th 2006, 07:31:46 am
Ocean FoxThe symptoms of envenomation by a Lion Fish can be severe. The first symptom is usually an immediate local pain which increases in intensity, often to an excruciating degree.
The best first aid is to recline the victim, gently extract any spine that may be present, and wash the area with water.
The infected area should then be elevated and immersed in hot (up to 113F) water for up to an hour and a half, or until the pain subsides. If the pain re-occurs after removal from the hot water, re-immerse.
After the hot water treatment the wound should be washed and cleaned, covered in a clean dressing, and immobilised in an elevated position.
THEN, professional medical assistance should be sought.

Posted by:Apr 26th 2006, 01:36:04 pm
ColinThese fish are pests -- the equivalent of Oscars in the Everglades or Eucalypus trees in California. They don't belong in the Atlantic and should be destroyed as soon as they are spotted.
Just be careful doing it!
I enjoy lionfish when we are on vacation in Australia. They are beautiful -- if a bit scary -- and belong there.
Posted by:Apr 26th 2006, 10:20:24 am
KimberlyThat's really interesting news, Andy. What's a good antidote once you get a little too close to a lionfish?
Posted by:Apr 26th 2006, 07:41:23 am
Ocean FoxOur reaction is still mixed - the Lion Fish is one of the most beautiful marine creatures a diver can hope to see and so to have them in the waters off Harbour Island and Eleuthera is a rare treat. The problem is, they shouldn't be here! The Lion Fish is indigenous to the Pacific and Indian Oceans but supposedly not found in the Atlantic. For the past 10 years Lion Fish have been tracked along the East coast of Florida, and for the past year by our own Ministry of Fisheries in the northern Bahamas. A call to the Ministry last week revealed that our specimen is the first to be reported this far south and east. After spotting our first Lion Fish last Tuesday, we found a second 9 miles away - suggesting that there aremany of them now taking up residence in our waters.
Beautiful as they are, Lion Fish are notoriously venomous. A member of the Scorpionfish family, the Lion Fish has an array of spines on their fins that transfer venom into a wound when contact is made with a victim's skin. As well as being hazardous to divers and fishermen, these fish have no known predators in the Atlantic, so are able to survive relatively undisturbed.
We are awaiting instruction from the Ministry as to our best course of action for dealing with these new residents.

We will have photos of our two sightings on our website soon!

Safe Diving,


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