GRAND CAYMAN—OCTOBER 19, 2011— A unique blend of artist, conservationist, scientist, diver, angler and explorer, Guy Harvey’s lifetime of extraordinary support of conservation through artistic …
DISPATCH FROM THE FIELD, PART II: Lionfish 101, Lessons for Novice Lionfish Hunters
This is Part II of a 3-part report by Capt. Ned Stone, Director of Programs for Guy Harvey Outpost, following his participation in the Green Turtle Club’s 5th Annual Lionfish Derby. Read Part I here.
Following Derby registration Lad Akins of Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) gave an excellent presentation on the Lionfish invasion and some words of wisdom for the divers.
The Lionfish invasion is well known. What to do about it is not. One of the actions REEF has devised is a series of Lionfish Derbies. Designed to raise awareness and to remove as many Lionfish from a given area as possible these events are fun and social as well. REEF conducts population studies before and after the Derbies and five years in the Derbies appear to be affecting local populations as the size of the average fish caught is trending smaller. Let’s be clear here; these are barely control mechanisms and NOT eradication.
Lionfish spines along their backs, lower jaw & ventral (belly) have poisonous venom. The venom is not fatal unless you have an allergic reaction. It is however extremely painful. Do your research so that you are sufficiently knowledgable before you start hunting. www.REEF.org is a great resource for information.
Avoid handling lionfish un-necessarily. Invest in good gloves. Medical waste “sharps resistant” gloves are ideal. Hex Armour, Sharpsmasters II for example. Follow REEF’s recommendation for handling Lionfish. If you are snorkling you can exchange spears with a pal in the boat. Your team mate can use the lid and side of the cooler to remove the Lionfish from the spear without ever coming near the spines.