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amber 06-11-2008 12:26 AM

wow... interesting post. Thanks for all the info. Us marine biology nerds disguised as kiters enjoy stuff like this... :)

Danimal8199 06-12-2008 03:21 PM

I was in South beach 2 summers ago and picked up some debris in the water only to find a tiny lion fish trying to hide in it. I couldn't believe what I saw so I barrowed a little net from some kids and scoped it up to take a safer look. It was fore sure a lion fish. I put it back in the water and but the sea weed back onto and sent it on its way...

RickI 06-12-2008 07:05 PM

Thanks for the SoBe story. I've heard they've been seen in Florida and are even common in deeper water off NE Florida. Despite that, I've yet to see one in SE Florida or the Keys. I understand they've been sighted off here as far back as 20 years ago. They sure are easily found in the Bahamas sad to say.
Have others seen these guys in Florida waters?

Yes, closet Marine Biologists unite! I ended up taking my career prospects on land a couple of decades ago. It sure was fun doing various coral reef, midwater and pelagic fisheries, marine geo, physical oceanography studies, UW Archaelogy and more for a while though. Great food for the mind if not the table!

RickI 06-22-2008 05:28 PM

Came across a clip with some preparation ideas for lionfish. Haven't tried any of what shows up in the following clip so copy at your own risk. Regardless of what may be implied in the video, these fish have venomous spines which will do a number on you if handled carelessly. The characters are a bit out there, particularly with the signature lionfish ventriloquism? Folks are giving clinics in the Bahamas on how to prepare them, missed out on those. So, in the interim, here's some food for ... uh, thought?

Also, here is some more info about lionfish from NOAA:

RickI 07-01-2008 02:43 PM

Bad news from the Caymans ...

Dr Mustard Column: Lionfish Update
Back in September I wrote an article in this column wondering when lionfish would make it to the Cayman Islands. To re-cap, the Indo-Pacific Lionfish, is not naturally found in the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea. However, in the early 1990s lionfish, presumed to be released from aquariums, started breeding off Florida and their population has rapidly spread. Initially this invading species was confined to Florida and the Carolinas, but in the last couple of years they have really proliferated and have been seen as far north as New York, as far east as Bermuda and are spreading southwards into the reefs of the Caribbean.

At the end of January I also mentioned the issue during my presentation at the Cayman Underwater Film Festival, asking if anyone had yet seen a lionfish in Cayman. Despite having much of the Cayman diving industry in the audience nobody came forward with information - so I concluded that the lionfish weren't here yet.

Then at the beginning of February, I got an email from Ben Webb, Dive Operations Manager at Reef Divers on Little Cayman. Ben told me that several of his guests had seen a lionfish on Bloody Bay Wall a few days earlier. When it comes to generating reliable data for a scientific study I am wary of trusting diver observations. Just ask any of OF's boat captains to repeat some of the funnier descriptions they are asked to decipher, even with common species like tarpon.

What I really wanted was a photo - the camera never lies and all that. And that was exactly what Ben had. Many thanks to guest Jim Matzke, who grabbed the first shot of a lionfish in the Cayman Islands on Bloody Bay Wall. It may not be technically perfect, but it was a perfect picture for me. Finally, proof of a Cayman lionfish. The second better quality image was taken by Matt Lewis from Reef Photo, Reef Divers of the same fish still on Bloody Bay Wall a couple of weeks later. Ben assures me that this is the same fish and it seems to have grown quite a bit.

So far the Little Cayman lionfish is the only one that has been seen and photographed in the Cayman Islands and the Department Of Environment have already captured it. So if you do see a lionfish anywhere in Cayman waters please take a photo and send me an email. Pictures don't need to be award winners, it is the record that counts. For those keen to learn more, check out Ned DeLoach's excellent article on the subject in the March 2008 issue of Scuba Diving Magazine.

Skyway Scott 08-14-2008 07:56 AM

RickI 03-11-2009 10:22 AM

Decided to bring this up to the top in honor of the pending Smash activities in the Bimini's.

RickI 06-08-2009 08:19 AM

Some more information about the invader:

"Some interesting Lionfish facts from the Shedd Aquarium,

Male lionfish are territorial, which means they stick close to a specific area where they always live and mate. Even the females live in specific areas on the reef. One male defends a territory where a few females also live...
At dusk, the pair of lionfish rush to the surface to pelagic spawn, which means they mate in an area that the fertilized eggs will be taken away on the currents to drift into the open ocean. The female will release 2,000 to 15,000 eggs that are fertilized by the male. The pair then quickly dashes down to the reef to hide. By doing this so swiftly, the eggs are left to float off to far away reefs before egg eating predators can see them. The eggs hatch 36 hours later and the larvae remain in the epipelagic zone or the zone in the open ocean near the surface. When the small fish grow to a half an inch (12 mm) long, they will swim down and join a reef community.

This explains a great deal about their rapid spread up the Gulf Stream from the Bahamas. The sedentary adults also gives some hope of keeping some areas relatively free as long as there isn't a breeding population up current. However, since they are already established in the Caymens and the Cuban coast as well as the Bahamas, it is almost inevitable that they will eventually be distributed through the Caribbean and the Gulf.

I can't relocate the sites, but I've seen several mentions of groupers as possible predators. If that is true, then increased protection of groupers may be needed to help control Lionfish population. I also saw a mention of traps being used with some success. If the by catch is reasonably low, such traps may make commercial fishing possible.


Good information, thanks for posting it. I have heard about only one individual being seen on Little Cayman. Of course that was almost a year ago. Just checked, things have become more crowded there. Also the Cayman government has come up with an interesting response.** I heard four had been seen off Cozumel about three months ago. Strongly advised they put a bounty on them. Read about a restaurant in Nassau that pays $12. to $15. USD a pound for lionfish. One thing is for certain, if the fish has value we're very good at depleting stocks. Have at it.


conchxpress 06-08-2009 02:08 PM

Are they any good to eat? Probably not, or else we as humans would have gobbled them up by now.

RickI 06-08-2009 02:11 PM


Originally Posted by conchxpress (Post 40702)
Are they any good to eat? Probably not, or else we as humans would have gobbled them up by now.

Ask Kent, supposedly quite good. A restaurant in Nassau is said to be paying $12. to 15. a pound for them!

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