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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bonaire’s Lionfish Population Takes a Big Hit During Marine Reserves Hunt

Last Saturday in the area between Karpata and Slagbaai, 288 invasive lionfish were removed from the reef by 31 certified hunters.

On Saturday afternoon, August 22nd, STINAPA Bonaire organized a two-tank dive in the marine reserves where divers are normally not allowed. The 31 divers were split between two boats, both of which returned before dark with a huge load of lionfish. A total of 288 of this invasive species were taken out in one afternoon.

Lionfish ready to be cleaned and eaten!Until 2009 the lionfish didn’t exist in the waters surrounding Bonaire. Because of this, lionfish do not have natural predators and are not being hunted by any marine creatures. Since the first lionfish was spotted in October 2009, they have reproduced rapidly and have spread throughout Bonaire and the rest of the Caribbean. Lionfish specifically target the young marine animals on our reef and can very quickly eat a lot and reproduce often. The lionfish is a threat to the biodiversity on our reefs and should be removed as thoroughly as possible. They are very tasty and several restaurants on Bonaire have lionfish on their menus.

The fish caught during this hunt will be offered to Rum Runners and the Bonaire Culinary Team as their specialty dish “ceviche” at the event Smaak of Bonaire (Taste of Bonaire) on September 10th in Scheveningen, Netherlands.

Scores:

Three STINAPA rangers ended up catching the most fish. They caught more than 25 fish per person during two dives! They were not participants in the competition so prizes went to:

Most fish:  21 caught Susan Porter

Largest fish:  44 cm Kevin O’Brien

Smallest fish:  7.5 cm Cassandra O’Neal

(Source:  STINAPA)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 25, 2015 at 3:25pm AST
Community ServiceNatureScuba DivingWater SportsPermalink
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