There is a MAJOR LION FISH INVASION of the ENTIRE Caribbean & Montserrat’s Waters..
Lion Fishes, are now found ranging from Massachusetts in the North; Bermuda; Gulf of Mexico and throughout the entire Caribbean to Central and South America region.
These Lion Fish are actually a native species of the Indio-Pacific waters, but because of their ravenous nature and Ornate Beauty, were imported into America, to sell to people for their home aquarium’s .
It is believed that in 1992.. Hurricane Andrew, came ashore in the Miami area and during that storm, it destroyed a Marine Aquarium, causing approximately 6 or 8 Lion Fishes to escape into the Florida Biscayne Bay waters, since that date, they have increased exponentially, by spawning continuously year round.
Marine scientist research reveals that Lion Fish have a unique reproductive system, not found in other native species, spawning year round, a female Lion Fish spawns between 30,000 to 40,000 eggs every three to four days, for about 30 days, then in a few weeks starts to spawn once again, therefore one female lion fish can produce well over 3 million offspring per year !
Researchers have documented that there was a boom of about 700% increase in Bahamian waters between 2004 and 2008.
A lion fish increases rapidly in size, and can become sexually reproductive within their first year, and can grow to 8 inches in length within their first year and keep growing to more than 16 inches or more in length, as much larger fishes have been spotted in the Bahamas, their first stop after leaving the Florida coast.
They grow so fast, that they easily out grow most native species.
Lion Fishes can be found in waters, ranging from one foot deep, right up to 1,000 feet deep waters.
Now these Lion Fishes are such Ravenous Predators and Hunters, they will devour all the juvenile fishes; shrimps; crabs and baby lobsters, depleting all the reefs and nursery grounds of juvenile fish!
Which would also lead to the total devastation of the reefs’, as coral reefs need fish to graze on the mosses and algae to keep the reef pristine, and healthy.
After much discussions with the Guadeloupian Fishermen and Marine Biologist, it is felt that in a very short time, all of the reefs and fishing grounds around the Caribbean, will be totally depleted of our regular pot fish, and we will then be forced to consume only these Lion Fishes for protein.
Lion Fishes have NO KNOWN NATURAL PREDATORS, IN THE CARIBBEAN.
HOWEVER.. in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands, Mutton Snappers (Virgin Snappers) and Groupers are being taught to feed on these lion fish, as divers spear these lion fish, and then feed them to the snappers and groupers, by doing this, it is hoped that the other snappers and groupers observing these fish being eaten, will then learn to start to feed on them also, doing this (training) is hoped that other fish will start to hunt and prey on these lion fish, for their food.
Closer to home, (Montserrat) a few Lion fish were spotted on the reefs of the BVI around March 2010, and since that very short time ago, they have totally Invaded all the reefs of the whole region.
I remember hearing of a single sighting, here on Montserrat, just about two years ago, since that time, there are now literally millions of them around Montserrat, all of the local fish pot fishermen, are literally catching dozens in each of their of their fish traps!
If a Lion fish enters, a trap, NO other fish will enter that trap.
Now because of the Warnings that have been given out about their venomous spins, most ALL of the local fishers, will not touch a lion fish !!, and are actually dumping them back into the ocean ALIVE, where they will just continue to reproduce.
YES the Spines are dangerous, however, if they are handled carefully while being cleaned, by holding them with a heavy leather glove, then take a heavy strong scissors’ or shears, and cut off the spines on it’s back; pelvic fins and anal fins, the fish is then 100% safe to handle and eat, in any way that you like to prepare fish.
NOTE: the Venom, is within the external fins, and NOT within the meat !!, what is being done in Florida; the Bahamas; Jamaica; Caymans etc. is they also cut off the head, and doing this, allows you to pull off the skin, and reveals a nice white flake meat, with a fine sweet flavour, similar to a groupers’ taste, so there is no need to scale them.
Customers can just take them home, season them and cook them, in their favourite way..
I have just arrived back from Guadeloupe, where I met with the President of UMPIG, Mr. Jean Claude Yoyotte, who is the head of All Guadeloupian Fishermen, and their Marine Biologist Nicolai, Fisheries Advisor to the Regional Counsel General, and had very detailed conversations with them, and some of the participating Guadeloupian Fishermen, who are in a study on this VERY SERIOUS Lion Fish Invasion, they are very worried, as their catches have been diminishing drastically, and are now mostly catching lots of these Lion Fishes, in their fish pots, and JUST LIKE THE MONTSERRATIAN FISHERMEN, ARE VERY SCARRED OR AFRAID of getting pricked by a lion fish.
Now Mr. Yoyotte, has convinced several fishermen, to change that thought, and are now cleaning them and giving away to their regular customers to try eating, and because they taste soo good, those same customers usually return and are willing to buy these Lion Fishes now.
The Marine Biologist’s with the Regional Counsel General, are now conducting some research and testing within several coastal communities around Guadeloupe, over the next few months, to see if the Lion Fish, being a top predator, may contract Ciguatera poisoning, from eating soo many juvenile fish, so the results should be soon completed within the near future and if good, will then get Governmental approval, to be sold to the public.
A local fisherman here, was accidentally pricked with on of these Lion Fishes’ spines, and suffered the consequences!
HE WAS treated at the Hospital, with several injections and tablets, which was NOT REALLY Necessary, all he was to have done was to soak his hand in 100 degree water or as hot as he could stand it, and Epsom salts can be added to the water to ease the pain and swelling..
Even I was accidentally pricked by a Scorpion fish or prickly hind as it is called, last week, and personally felt the venom travel up my hand, however, because I have being doing research on Venomous fishes, knew how to treat myself, and was out of pain within a few minutes!
Now here’s a MEDICAL HEALTH TIP… If you were to get pricked by one of these venomous spines, the first thing to do, is check to see if the spine has not broken off inside your body, if so, you should remove it as soon as possible, then soak the effected area, in a mixture of Epsom Salts and Hot Water, as hot as you can be bare it, by doing this, the venom will be neutralized, it can take (depending on the severity) between 15 minutes to one hour of soaking.
Some other remedies’, are putting an onion in boiling water, then placing it on the effected area, also another thing that can be used is an Aloe Vera branch, heated, then sliced open, sprinkled with some salt, and holding on the effected area.
NEVER USE COLD WATER OR ICE on the location, as cold causes the venom to travel upwards… inwards. NOT OUT of the wound..
NEVER TAKE ASPIRIN, WHILE SOAKING YOU BODY PART, AS ASPIRIN OR ANY ANALGESIC CAN CAUSE A PROBLEM FOR THE PERSON, DURING THIS HOT SOAK TIME.
If a Fisherman is wounded at sea while fishing, he can hold the effected part, say his hand under the cooling exhaust water of the engine, although, not overly hot, will reduce the symptoms’, until reaching ashore.
We must take action NOW to reduce this Invasion, and start to get accustomed to eating these Lion Fish, as it is VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO ERADICATE THIS SPECIES NOW!
We in the Caribbean, are faced with a MAJOR PROBLEM, and it’s Consequences are that SOON ALL the Reef Fishes (POT FISH and
SNAPPERS) and some Pelagic Species, will be TOTALLY ERADICATED PERMANENTLY FROM OUR WATERS!!! within the next two years!! A VERY VERY SERIOUS SITUATION!!