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In an attempt to manage the Lionfish population, various countries have devised action plans.

  1. In the Bahamas a Lionfish kill order was issued to fishermen in 2007. Education seminars, adopt a reef and removal by spear fishing/hand nets in tourist hot spots is carried out.
  2. In Bermuda a Lionfish culling program was initiated in 2008 that included a training program, collecting license and a special dive flag allowing commercial and recreational fishers to spear Lionfish along near-shore reefs.
  3. In the Turks and Caicos Islands, the DECR (Department of Environment and Coastal Resources) have training programs, issued collecting licenses and a special dive flag allowing commercial fishers to spear and dive centres to capture Lionfish with nets.
  4. In October 2009 the DECR started a campaign to encourage local restaurants to put Lionfish on their menu and a Lionfish tournament lasting a year started in October 2009 with first prize being $3,000. There is also a Lionfish Derby day in the summer.
  5. In Aruba the law were updated to allow spearfishing (were illegal to kill anything under water)  only LionFish with Pole spear “NO Speargun”.
  6. Also NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) researchers have developed techniques to trap Lionfish from deeper waters and larger areas that are impractical for removal by divers. Aruba’s first trials were in April 2017 Click here to learn more
  7. An early detection and rapid response program has also been developed by a collaborative effort by NOAA, REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation) and USGS (United States Geological Survey) in South Florida.

LionFish are slow moving fish and often found stationary. This allows them to be relatively easily captured.

There are two (2) methods commonly used in capturing LionFish;

Do No Damage to the Environment While Hunting LionFish

This should go completely without saying. Most of us are hunting LionFish to help prevent the damage invasive LionFish are bringing to our local waters; the rule of first aid, “First, do no harm.” applies. Killing a LionFish is no excuse to harm other underwater creatures, structure and coral! If you cannot take a safe shot, leave the LionFish for another day. LionFish live in one place for a very long time and will mostly likely be very close when you come back (if another “KILLA” doesn’t get it first).

Practice excellent buoyancy control and make it a point of pride. Stay off of the reef and keep your body parts, fins and your equipment from coming into contact with just about everything underwater, except for you and the LionFish, during your dive!

Not damaging the underwater environment also means not disturbing the order of life, too – like feeding underwater predators the speared LionFish you do not want to keep.

We are discouraging divers from feeding dying and injured LionFish to the local predators from the tips of their spears. Divers who believe that they are somehow training potential predators to hunt LionFish by feeding them are severely mistaken. Instead, they are encouraging dangerous behavior by training potentially aggressive and dangerous predators to focus on the point of a spear that is usually only about 3 feet long. You can seriously injure unsuspecting hunters that dive in the area long after this behavior is introduced.

Quite frankly, there is no reason to feed LionFish to the local marine life at all, from the tip of a spear or leaving them dead at the bottom. Nothing good will come of training potentially dangerous creatures to associate divers with food. There are very good reasons why park rangers tell you “not to feed the bears.” Instead, take the LionFish out of the water and dispose of them safely and responsibly if you cannot find someone who will eat them or otherwise put the dead fish to good use.

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