Sep 28

Bonaire, Post Six: Lionfish

Category: Bonaire,scuba,Travel

The lionfish is native to Indonesia, from where it was imported to the US decades ago as an aquarium fish.  Someone released it, and it spread like wildfire starting with Florida.  Now it is all over the Caribbean.  It can eat up to 90% of the native fish larvae in reefs it inhabits and has no known natural predators in this hemisphere; that’s a recipe for disaster.  In addition, those beautiful spines deliver very painful stings to anyone who disturbs them.  Awesome, no?

They are gorgeous creatures, but they must be killed.  They are the only animal you’re allowed to hunt in Bonaire, but to get permission to do so, you have to take a class and use only the spear guns sold by the Bonaire wildlife management people.  Next time I go, this might be a cool thing to do; I could have taken down a dozen of them.  I’ve never killed anything under water but this is a noble cause, albeit perhaps a phyrric one.


2 Comments so far

  1. Talkingtostones September 29th, 2011 8:46 PM

    I love lion fish, though not as an invasive species. There’s just something glorious about them. But seeing one of these things looming large over you as a small fish would definitely be terrifying!

  2. Dan Greenspan September 29th, 2011 9:20 PM

    Yes, they are lovely, and they are sinister. I tried to capture that scary, lurking quality. For a person though, they aren’t really scary – unless you touch them!

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