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Cecil
07-01-2011, 07:56 AM
http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/008236/008236684605lg.jpg

The above is a picture of of a 2 penny iron finish nail and if I had my wish every Lionfish in the Atlantic basin would receive one (or two) for Christmas.

Why an iron nail? It's iron so a miss is no harm to the reef, a hit and you have a stessed Lionfish and a stressed fish on the reef is soon to be an ex-fish on the reef.

I have been thinking about this problem and this is an engineer's solution. I see a semi autonomous ROV searching, searching then using optical recognition it see's a Lionfish, then a human gives the command to shoot one or two of the above. Then all depths and ares not accessable to divers could be swept of this scourge.

That's long term, short term is to develop the Lionfish nail gun. I see this as a modified paint ball gun using CO2 or air. Why not a nailgun, that is design to hammer a nail with a piston vs. shooting out a barrel. This should also be designed with an absolute safety such that it could not be fired out of the water. It would be very short ranged, a meter max, I would guess.

Now saying all that, I must also add, I have no way, time or means to do any of this and I'm just throwing it out there hoping a Bill Gates or Dean Kamen will hire me for a gazillion dollars a year to make it happen.

larry
07-01-2011, 01:21 PM
Love the concept. BUT--how many of these semiautomated microsubmarine nail gunners would you need? What's the power supply for the underwater travel? And, what happens to the vehicles when the propulsion energy (CO2 charge or submarine propulsion energy) is gone? Would the solution be worse than the problem?

Cecil
07-01-2011, 05:37 PM
Remember the ROVs working around the Deepwater blowout, they run on a battery and have a fiber optic cable link to the surface, they can operate very deep and do anything but make a sammich. They also cost a zillion dollars to make and operate but boy could they kill Lionfish. I was thinking more of a DIY ROV run by someone with a laptop connected with a cable to the ROV.

As far as the air/co2 supply for the gun, that's like battery power and nail supply and memory and capacitor charge (for giant squid attack), that all needs to be monitored and replenished as required.

The guns themselves would be hand built and maybe need a dozen or so. Nobody's going to make money on this gig, although a bounty on each fish could help with operating costs.

Eric M
07-03-2011, 01:02 AM
I'm the Unmanned Systems Program Manager for a major scientific laboratory. His idea is a good start and some form of it is probably doable. There are many ways to keep the power supply of such a vehicle topped off, especially in the ocean. And with the unique shape of the lionfish, it would not be hard to create an autonomous algorithm to hunt them. Shape the vehicle in a way that is not threatening to a lionfish and you could get close enough to make a high probability shot every time.

Just need to get the environmental folks to convince the government of Bonaire that the problem is bad enough to warrant releasing a solicitation for a proposal to build the system. It wouldn't be cheap, but the cost would be cheaper than allowing the problem to spiral out of control.

e

Nitrox Monkey
07-08-2011, 06:39 PM
The cure for the lionfish problem is simple, consider how many divers frequent any given dive site during the day. For those, such as myself, who would like to protect the fragile balance of fish life on the reef, allow us to do a lionfish hunting certificate that actually lets us go out by ourselves and do some population control. They offer a gimmick of a certification which makes you pay a significant amount of money (about $125) for the training and certification, though with current Bonaire law, you can only use this card if you are going with a dive operation, guided by a Instructor. Thus meaning you could maybe do one or two hunting dives per week. I would happily devote some of my vacation time to aid in the necessary reef conservation which Bonaire officials are calling for but not allowing an intelligent contingency plan for. The problem could be solved within a couple months, though it seems the problem is the lack of action by those calling for a means to and end.

smits
07-09-2011, 12:12 PM
It’s more complicated than that.
I’ve seen a couple of certified lion fish hunters.
In their stress to get the fish, I’ve seen hands and knees on the coral.
When you hit the fish, it’s not always dead. I’ve witnessed certified hunters to turn the elf around and around with the lion fish attached to it. Unfortunately they used the coral to keep the fish steady….. and make the holes bigger.
That killed the lion fish, but what about the coral?

Eric M
08-03-2011, 05:58 PM
OK, I'm going to post this and then run away for a month to avoid the backlash. But if you consider the occasional damage done by an accidental brush with the coral by a lionfish hunter, vs. the horrible damage just one of these invasive predators can do to a reef's ecosystem, I think the tradeoff is a good one.

Do I advocate touching the reef, NO. Do I think that someone that lacks the skill to minimize the possibility of contact should participate in this activity, NO. But there are tradeoffs to everything in life and I believe this is probably one of them.

For Pete's sake. If we are that worried about incidental contact with the reef, we better ban diving worldwide!

JMO

e

Scott
08-13-2011, 10:37 PM
http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/008236/008236684605lg.jpg

The above is a picture of of a 2 penny iron finish nail and if I had my wish every Lionfish in the Atlantic basin would receive one (or two) for Christmas.

Why an iron nail? It's iron so a miss is no harm to the reef, a hit and you have a stessed Lionfish and a stressed fish on the reef is soon to be an ex-fish on the reef.

I have been thinking about this problem and this is an engineer's solution. I see a semi autonomous ROV searching, searching then using optical recognition it see's a Lionfish, then a human gives the command to shoot one or two of the above. Then all depths and ares not accessable to divers could be swept of this scourge.

That's long term, short term is to develop the Lionfish nail gun. I see this as a modified paint ball gun using CO2 or air. Why not a nailgun, that is design to hammer a nail with a piston vs. shooting out a barrel. This should also be designed with an absolute safety such that it could not be fired out of the water. It would be very short ranged, a meter max, I would guess.

Now saying all that, I must also add, I have no way, time or means to do any of this and I'm just throwing it out there hoping a Bill Gates or Dean Kamen will hire me for a gazillion dollars a year to make it happen.


I like the way you are thinking. I have used modified pole spears but cringe when a shot goes wrong. I think I can come up with something inexpensive to build, easy to shoot, and cause little to no damage for missed shots. Thanks for getting me out of the box. I will follow up when I get done.

DiverVince
08-14-2011, 11:33 AM
Just to clarify what we're dealing with..A direct hit on the lionfish with the 3 pronged ELF "paralyzer tip" will NOT kill the Lionfish (neither will it paralyze them). If you are not careful they will just dart right off of it. A knife stab to the brain when they are pinned down and a stab puncture to the air bladder to prevent them from floating away will kill them. So I suspect it would be wiser to save the nails for carpentry work.;)

Cecil
08-31-2011, 01:47 PM
I can not prove you wrong Vince but I hope you are, they are tough little ba$tards.

How about propulsion for the ROVs.

TSUZbureE0A

Scubanut
10-20-2011, 02:38 PM
I just received a PM from DiverVince regarding my question about current rules regarding spearfishing for lionfish. I wanted to post my response to him as yet one more call to arms. I'm in Chicago so I don't have much leverage, but I do enjoy returning to Bonaire to recenter myself and would appreciate any effort by you residents to effect some change. Here it is

Thanks for the response. I learned all about [the rules] when I was there. I also had a long conversation with Ned Deloach who recognizes the real threat that is being leveled at the reef system. STINAPA needs to do more now and be more creative! I would rather lose a few grouper to illegal poachers than loose the entire ecosystem to the invader. That’s what I call being penny wise and pound foolish.
We dove the north end in September and did not see any Lionfish at Boka Bartol and Playa Benge. We began seeing them at Boka Slagbaai and every other site further south all the way to Red Slave. And they weren’t singletons but groups of four or five. There is no easy mechanism that I discovered (or was told about) to identify, mark and communicate to STINAPA the location of sightings. I saw floating corks probably signaling the location, but I could have deployed 100 of them during the 25 dives I made that week. Nobody offered me one, at minimum STINAPA should hand them out along with the medallion indicating that you have paid the park fee. More people have to be empowered to reduce the threat of this invader and it needs to be taken seriously.
I took a group of divers to Mahajual Mexico (near Chinchorro Bank) to go on a Lionfish safari in March 2011. After the divemasters evaluated our diving proficiency and after demonstrating the technique of the Hawaiian pole (the short ELF invites unwarranted puncture accidents) we were on our own taking fish for a lionfish dinner prepared by a local restaurant for an end of the week dinner. I think most divers visiting your island would behave the same way and not harvest protected fish. We killed a lot that week with no mishaps. Our more experienced divemaster was not so lucky and got stung when knifing a fish.
We were also lucky enough to dive Chinchorro Bank the last day and I was dismayed to find that it was overwhelmed by lionfish. This is a government protected reef not unlike that of Bonaire and I unfortunately witnessed groupings of the biggest lionfish I have ever seen. While Man may never eradicate the lionfish at Bonaire, if they are not better controlled, the efforts started by Capt Don and others to create a protected reef system that provides the best diving in the Caribbean will have been in vain and the dive industry on Bonaire will suffer irreparable harm.:hummm:

jendiver
11-02-2011, 02:03 PM
Just returned - I know I owe you guys a trip report. The Lionfish situation is disconcerting at best. I had a few questions following my recent trip:

Has there been, or has it been discussed for their to be Lionfish Derbys on Bonaire as is sponsored by REEF in other parts of the Caribbean? Who is allowed to hunt lionfish on Bonaire? How can visitors obtain the requirements to be legal? Are paid Lionfish hunting dives popular/common? Do you think visiting divers would pay just to observe lionfish hunts? Are there local or local-minded organizations that fundraise to sponsor/support such activities and/or raise awareness or funds for other solutions?

Thanks for your thoughts - I am terrified that this a losing battle and that more needs to be done. If things continue as is, the fish and the reef will disappear very quickly. With my limited knowledge of the situation, I feel paralyzed to help, I would not even know who to make financial contributions to that would actually help this specific situation.

DiverVince
11-03-2011, 11:43 AM
Jen..You can always make a financial donation to STINAPA which is the entity which oversees the Lion Fish recovery efforts on Bonaire. :)

susan
11-04-2011, 07:37 AM
Jen, We have lionfish hunters who are out everyday taking out hundreds of lionfish on a daily basis. I don't think there is such activity on any other Caribbean island as exists on Bonaire. A friend of mine took out 26 just herself last week on one dive.

STINAPA and the Bonaire National Marine Park, in addition to the daily efforts of a lot of people on Bonaire, organize hunts (or derbies) to lesser-dove areas to be sure these areas stay in check, too. See http://www.bonaireinsider.com/index.php/bonaireinsider/update_on_bonaires_lionfish_situation/ for some information on a recent "derby." I'm told that the actual count of fish taken out on just that day was over 300, but not everyone donated their fish to CIEE, and the data reported only includes the fish donated for research purposes.

So even though it might not be publicized often, there IS actually quite a lot happening to combat the problem.

kob
11-04-2011, 01:36 PM
Everyone can contribute to the effort ... take the STINAPA-approved Lionfish Hunter course offered by the major dive ops on Bonaire (we did ours thru VIP Diving) and go kill some lionfish. Along with Bas Noij, our group of 4 killed more than 20 lionfish on the south side on 2 dives.

Three of us, along with Bas Tol, killed another 12-15 or so on the east side on 2 dives a couple days later. If you take the course, you will get to dive with an ELF and kill lionfish. Maybe even eat some, too. They're very tasty little critters !! :p

tcobb
11-06-2011, 12:40 PM
What does the approved lion fish hunting course cost?

kob
11-06-2011, 02:29 PM
It was $125 at VIP Diving. Included the briefing & practice with the ELF (killing Coke bottles filled with water :p), then 2 dives with Bas Noij. During those dives, we each had our own ELF to use and were able to kill 4-5 each.

The course was very new at that time (mid-September), as we were among the first 20 divers on island to complete the training. Well worth it though. We had a really good time. You wouldn't think so, but your heart starts pumpin' when you're on the hunt !!

Bonaire Jay
02-26-2012, 07:46 PM
http://www.facebook.com/groups/204943612865079/ for active lionfish hunters
Bonaire Jay

Squirrelfish
09-17-2012, 04:14 PM
Although I am not certified to hunt them (yet) I try to do my small part by eating Lionfish whenever I see it on the menu as 'Catch of the Day'.

ModCecil
09-18-2012, 10:54 AM
Another Lionfish hunter.

http://absci.fiu.edu/?p=3265

rjs
09-18-2012, 10:56 AM
Nor am I cerified to hunt them yet but hopefully I will be. a little postive note for all. a couple years ago I was in the bajamas and they were everywhere and big not so much in bonaire. I did see some on my trip (WWP 2012) about six or so for a week of diving but the important part what you are doing is working i not seen many and they are very small. Anyway before i get off on a TBI rant keep up the good work and eat more lionfish, yum.

rayandpam
09-18-2012, 08:56 PM
We saw our first lionfish while in Bonaire last Sept 2011 and we saw alot of them every dive. We were in Cozumel in June 2012 where they have regular lionfish hunts and we didn't see any lionfish although they were there because other people on island at the same time saw them. We'll be back in Bonaire this Nov 2012 and hope to see alot less lionfish than we saw the previous year. Don't know if it has anything to do with it but we dive alot deeper in Coz, average about 65' whereas in Bonaire we average about 35'.

Squirrelfish
09-19-2012, 01:01 PM
Saw several dead lionfish washed up on shore or in the sand flats with the meat behind the head missing. Is it common practice to discard them back into the ocean? I would have eaten the meat around the head as well.

tursiops
09-19-2012, 01:16 PM
Saw several dead lionfish washed up on shore or in the sand flats with the meat behind the head missing. Is it common practice to discard them back into the ocean? I would have eaten the meat around the head as well.

The head is very bony, not a good source of meat, at least not to get at. Can't really cut off the meat, can't really eat it. And you can't easily spear them in the head, either, the darn spear just bounces off! And if you do spear them, the easy way to kill them is to stick a long knife into the eye socket to scramble the brains. A long knife.

Squirrelfish
09-19-2012, 01:36 PM
True, there is not much meat around the head but I still like to pick out whatever is there, just to gross out my wife. :eek:

kob
09-19-2012, 01:49 PM
When we hunt them, we spear them through the body ... they will not die then, they will thrash around like crazy trying to get off the spear prongs. Your momentum from gliding in prior to spearing them carries you forward to pin them against the bottom, so they can't get off the spear (barbed prongs help).

While you have them pinned to the bottom, you use your knife (as Mel says "long knife") to stab them through the brain to kill them. You can also use your knife to puncture their air bladder if the spear tips didn't do it, so that they don't float.

wwguy
09-19-2012, 01:58 PM
Check out this video, shot recently on Curacao. Two divers harvest 22 lionfish in 2 minutes 39 seconds.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVezAfIFrqs

More info is available in the original post on ScubaBoard (http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/abc-islands/433741-great-yet-sad-video-lionfish-curacao.html).

kob
09-19-2012, 02:13 PM
Very cool, wwguy. We are going to be trying a Zookeeper while hunting lionfish with Bas Tol in October.

stretch
09-19-2012, 09:44 PM
Thanks for sharing wwguy. That was awesome !!!!

Squirrelfish
09-20-2012, 03:47 PM
Very impressive hunt! I was told that the Lionfish are very numerous on Curacao. This technique should help put a dent in their population there.

smits
09-21-2012, 06:40 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoLjl9oHAYg&feature=player_embedded

I found the hearding technique also very interesting.

Last summer I've never seen so many lion fish on Curacao.They caught them at the Caracas bay.
He is member of the LET team (Lionfish Elimination Team) founded by 4 young divers.

On the 25th of august they cought 52 lionfish in onde dive and took them with the in the "Zookeeper".

smits
09-21-2012, 06:57 AM
The LET team also organised ‘Eat them to beat them’ matches with specially trained competitors.

The first time more than 1.000 lionfish were caught in one day. The second time more than 1500

randl
09-24-2012, 07:45 AM
A bit off the topic but I've signed up for a Lionfish dinner at a local upscale restaurant here in Houston hosted by a local dive chain. I'm not the only one. The dinner is Oct. 11 and I'm #34 as of last Wednesday. Can't wait!:cheers:

Building a commercial market for the fish can only help.

ModCecil
09-24-2012, 08:39 AM
Lionfish is very tasty, a light sweet meat, enjoy. I hear tell it's also an aphrodisiac.

randl
09-24-2012, 08:41 AM
I hear tell it's also an aphrodisiac.Makes sense. Look how many there are!

At my age, I could have it for every meal.

rjs
09-24-2012, 12:37 PM
randi i am not sure about the aphrodisiac part but it is very tasty. However, that would be good news, cialas of the sea.

Azureblue
09-25-2012, 08:57 AM
I'm the Unmanned Systems Program Manager for a major scientific laboratory. His idea is a good start and some form of it is probably doable. There are many ways to keep the power supply of such a vehicle topped off, especially in the ocean. And with the unique shape of the lionfish, it would not be hard to create an autonomous algorithm to hunt them. Shape the vehicle in a way that is not threatening to a lionfish and you could get close enough to make a high probability shot every time.

Just need to get the environmental folks to convince the government of Bonaire that the problem is bad enough to warrant releasing a solicitation for a proposal to build the system. It wouldn't be cheap, but the cost would be cheaper than allowing the problem to spiral out of control.



I am wondering, again, what the umbrella organization is for the Environmentally Concerned people of Bonaire, who then would be able to organize and propose solutions like this one for the Lionfish problem. Is it the park? If it isn't the park, shouldn't there be something?

johnorman
09-26-2012, 07:37 AM
A local sushi restraunt in Colorado recently sold a football size lionfish for 550.00 US dollars and served it for dinner. Catch em live and ship them to Colorado.

Squirrelfish
09-26-2012, 06:02 PM
A local sushi restraunt in Colorado recently sold a football size lionfish for 550.00 US dollars and served it for dinner. Catch em live and ship them to Colorado.
I'd rather pay the airfare down and another $25 for Lionfish as the catch of the day. I had no luck finding it on the menu while in Bonaire (just didn't hit the right restaurants at the right day) but was able to find it during a layover in Curacao, courtesy of Hurricane Isaac. A complimentary glass of white wine came with it.

8467

Squirrelfish
09-26-2012, 09:07 PM
Correction to above statement: my wife just told me that the Lionfish special cost us $45 not $25. (Still cheaper than $550)

rjs
10-04-2012, 10:22 AM
I just made a proposal to a friend mine about starting a lion fish hunting org. We don't need much money just some plain or boat fair, a place to sleep could be the beach and a tank, spear, and someone to make a little ceviche. We will work all over el caribe until we are to old to kill em or they are all gone. I think the team should be a group from WWP they need a little action in their lives. Not to mention it might be good for them as well. Hell any lion fish taken we can give to the poor folkes and help them as well. Even with a TBI I am a freakin genius.

ModCecil
10-04-2012, 12:30 PM
Yes you are and there really is a simple way to make this happen, we need a bounty on each fish. All it takes is money and commitment neither is very forthcoming.

The place that really needs to step up is the Bahamas, the lionfish are out of control there. They are in center of the storm.

wwguy
10-04-2012, 07:18 PM
Yes you are and there really is a simple way to make this happen, we need a bounty on each fish. All it takes is money and commitment neither is very forthcoming.

The place that really needs to step up is the Bahamas, the lionfish are out of control there. They are in center of the storm.

If possible you should probably refrain from posting on BT after happy hour. (Although I have to admit that the self-propelled automatically-guided underwater nail-shooting lionfish assassin robot fish idea was pretty creative.)

The Bahamas is made up of 3000 islands and cays covering over 5000 square miles. As a country the Bahamas ranks #32 in the world for length of coastline. They have over 2200 miles of coastline, most of which is uninhabited. (The total population of all islands is about 350,000 people.) Only a very small portion of this coastline ever sees divers.

So let's say that a big bag containing 10 million dollars fell from heaven and landed on the beach smack-dab in the middle of 1000 or so underfunded-but-committed volunteers who were milling about waiting for environmental windmills to tilt. Using this cash, what do you envision they would do to reduce lionfish numbers on 2200 miles of coastline spread across 3000 islands?

I'm not sure what you mean by the Bahamas being in the "center of the storm" as there's no identifiable source of origin for the invasion and no information I'm aware of that there are more in the Bahamas than anywhere else. However, much like in other Caribbean tourism regions, divers in the Bahamas are doing what they can to reduce lionfish population on reefs frequented by divers. Here are a few examples:
http://www.reef.org/enews/articles/first-bahamas-lionfish-derby-huge-success-1408-lionfish-1-day
http://www.reef.org/enews/articles/second-annual-bahamas-lionfish-derby-brings-941-lionfish
http://www.spearboard.com/showthread.php?t=125675

randl
10-12-2012, 06:56 AM
Last night I attended a Lionfish dinner at a trendy Houston restaurant. Three courses of Lionfish...fritters, ceviche and en papillote. Some impressions. This started as a dive store promotion (with strong encouragement of the restaurant and folks from the Flower Garden Banks marine reserve off the Texas coast) but it grew until more than 100 were in attendance. It was a noisy, energetic crowd that clearly enjoyed the event.

The meals were beautiful, prepared the award winning chef of the Haven Restaurant, but portions seemed a bit small. The taste was very, very mild...almost to the point of no memorable flavor. This is fish for those who don't care for fish. At one point the chef came to our table and mentioned that he was given the choice of whole fish or fillets and choice the latter. He said the fillets were small, on the order of 2oz. He also bought three whole fish for a display and described them as "all head." He mentioned the fish were from a commercial supplier in Cozumel.

It seems there will be some challenges to a vigorous commercial market. Tiny, mild-mild fillets will appeal to the cognescenti but maybe not to dinners used to big, tasty grouper and snapper. Chatting with divers at my table, they talked about diver masters spearing Lionfish and tossing them dead onto the reef rather than bringing them back to cook and eat. Still, the enthusiastic crowd all knew about the "Lionfish problem" and would happily do this event again and again.

ModCecil
10-12-2012, 08:56 AM
Roger what I meant by the Bahamas being the center of the storm they were first infected and as you said have way more shallow reefs than pretty much anywhere else in the Caribbean. When I dove there last year Lionfish were everywhere and out of control, very few small fish. It will not be pretty if all the grazers are killed off.

Randy this is about as big as I have seen one. The filets from this size were maybe 4 ozs.

http://www.bonairetalk.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=6554&d=1335908148

randl
10-13-2012, 12:54 PM
Here are some photos from the Lionfish dinner at Haven Restaurant in Houston. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.470235952999429.100500.128018470554514&type=3. A good time was had by all.

randl

kob
10-15-2012, 07:27 AM
The lionfish cookbook from REEF has some great recipes. We're taking our copy to BON next week ... along with our ELF's !!

susan
10-15-2012, 07:37 AM
The lasagna recipe from there is excellent! Be sure to try that one!

rjs
10-18-2012, 02:10 PM
It was a couple of years ago but they were everywhere around Nassau and they were huge. They were not intimidated at all they just watched as we went by. The reminded me like an old fat grouper they had some reef don't screw with them.

kob
10-18-2012, 02:49 PM
rjs -- it is amazing how easy it is to approach them, even with ELF in hand. You can spear one lionfish and another less than 1/2 metre away will simply watch. They are truly unafraid of anything right now.

rjs
10-18-2012, 02:53 PM
Thanks to the lovely island of Bonaire - you got to love lion fish ceviche yum yum

kob
10-27-2012, 09:30 AM
We did our part this week ... diving with Bas Noij on Monday and Bas Tol on Wednesday, we (mostly the Bas's) killed more than 50 lionfish. Sue and I got another 8-10 on our own as well, including 2 large ones on Cha Cha Cha reef and a few more on our own house reef at Lighthouse Beach. We ate fresh lionfish two evenings this week at our place ... delicious !!

Rob Mills
10-31-2012, 01:19 PM
what are the current regs and rules for the ELF's. I sent an email to the park a couple of weeks ago and still unanswered. I want to continue to hunt them down there but do not want to take the class again. Is there a way for a certified Lionfish hunter to get an elf and go diving? I have been informed no ELF's at BDA dock allowed but are other places doing that?

kob
10-31-2012, 01:42 PM
Rob -- we bought ELF's here in the US from Innovative Scuba, but you could get better ones (longer shafts, with triggers) from Bas Tol. We had previously taken the STINAPA-approved lionfish hunting course from Bas Noij at VIP Diving (certifications #019 & #020).

After we bought our ELF's, we contacted Ramon De Leon at STINAPA (he is quoted in the Innovative Scuba catalog as saying the Innovative Scuba ELF's are approved for use on Bonaire). Ramon assigned us serial numbers for our ELF's, which I had to engrave on the handle of each ELF. After engraving, I sent pics of the engraved ELF's to Ramon and he emailed us a contract for use on Bonaire. We used the contract to bring the ELF's through Bonaire Customs. I am not sure how the process would work if you bought an ELF on Bonaire.

These ELF's are for our personal use only and must be secured by STINAPA when you leave the island so no one else can use them. If you contact Ramon, he can guide you through the process. He was very helpful in explaining the process to us.

Rob Mills
10-31-2012, 05:35 PM
Yes , have been talking to Ramon. He let me do some hunting last time because of the depth but the rules state you have to be a resident. Visitors like me have to take the course. I took the course and have since become an instructor for the cert. My wife was even given a medal from the tourist board and a free party for how much we are down there. Doesn.t matter have to be a resident so far but I am working on it.

rayandpam
11-06-2012, 08:01 PM
So we're back on Bonaire doing the same dives we did last year where we saw probably half a dozen lionfish on every dive. We've done 7 dives and have only seen a total of 3 lionfish this year, one large one that the DM kept.:p

Rob Mills
11-07-2012, 12:28 PM
Thats 3 no 2 too many. Kill em all. Sorry i do not even eat that much fish but i have seen the drop in the Caymens and the Bahamas of the smaller fish that the lionfish eat. I am a firm believer that only man can stop a man made invasion.

Cornhusker
11-26-2012, 08:36 PM
We were diving 2012 and watched STINAPA group diving for lionfish--it appeared they had what looked like mesh bags where the lionfish were placed after being speared. I saw on utube various video on Curcacao of what looked like PCV tubes where lionfish were placed after being speared. Does anyone know if these are available on Bonaire? Reason for asking is I plan to take course 2013 to hunt them critters and these containers look much safer when returning to shore. Does anyone know if STINAPA or Bas rents out ELF's for day/week? Depending on the price of the tube, might just buy one and donate to STINAPA for others to use as they look quite durable.

Cornhusker

susan
11-27-2012, 10:17 AM
Hi, the PVC tubes, which are called zookeepers, are widely used on Bonaire. I don't believe anyone will "rent" out an ELF to you, however, as all ELFS are registered to approved lionfish hunters for their use only or in the use of their classes. Check with the instructor with whom you will be taking the course, however, for the final word on this.

Cornhusker
11-27-2012, 08:17 PM
thanks for the data--I plan to take class and someone mentioned about getting a better ELF from Bas, so I just thought that they could be rented--I will send him an e-mail and ask questions and get answers. Zookeepers--neat name as like I said the divers had nothing like this when we watched them so figured if cost was reasonable to "donate" one for others to use in the future.

Cornhusker

susan
11-28-2012, 07:47 AM
Yes, the Zookeepers definitely make things easier, and allow for much greater fish catches. The original ones were developed in Curacao and purchased from there and shipped to Bonaire. Since that time, I believe the most active hunters are making their own here on Bonaire. I'm sure Bas can advise on this, and I'm also sure that if you donated yours to any active lionfish hunter, it will be put to good use! :)

Bas Tol
12-02-2012, 10:17 AM
I think those who are following this thread will enjoy this little Lionfishing video!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhEAUM8vnjs&feature=share

smits
12-02-2012, 10:21 AM
Thanks for sharing Bas, greaat video, great results.
The Zookeepper really helps.
I saw them the first time when I was visiting my old friend, Eric Wederfoort.

ModCecil
12-02-2012, 11:02 AM
That is a beautiful thing, keep up the excellent work.

esculley
12-02-2012, 12:42 PM
hank u so much bas. keep up the beautiful job u and everyone else is doing

Cornhusker
12-09-2012, 12:48 PM
Dear Bas--I know I have your contact data some place but it is lost on the desk so would you please send it to me? I would like to know the rules/requirements that need to be followed that authorize visitors like myself to harvest lionfish on Bonaire? Do you provide the training/class and do you/your company have equipment that one can rent or do we need to buy it on Bonaire? I have seen various posts about Elfs and Stinapa and approval process and it appears I would rather rent than own as we have catfish not lionfish in Nebraska.....also they would never fit in any Zookeeper unless the opening was at least 18" across!

Anyway will look forward to getting your reply--also I believe you provide some east coast diving options and this is also a planned event for wife and I for our 2013 trip. By the way, if you know [yes spelling is wrong] Alveen let me know as I will send yo a copy of photo of him 12-years ago when he was working at Sand Dollar that is special!

Royce & Mary Balak

ModFreddie
12-09-2012, 02:42 PM
Bas Noij bas@vipdiving.com http://www.vipdiving.com/
Bas Tol http://www.basdiving.com

Cornhusker
12-09-2012, 06:54 PM
Thanks for the data--how is the new puppy? We will both miss seeing you this year and will try to snap a pic of manta and post it for you to enjoy......also will stop down at Divi and have a refreshment in your honor!

Royce & Mary

JimMc
12-10-2012, 04:35 PM
This has been such a great thread, informative, and fun to read and watch. A personal thanks to everyone keeping up the good fight.

lorimich
12-14-2012, 09:27 AM
hi,
May seem like a dumb question but why is having a lot of lionfish a bad thing? Do they scare off fish?
thanks,
Lori

ModFreddie
12-14-2012, 09:38 AM
They eat the babies and will decimate the fish population unless controlled........ and no question is ever dumb :)

kob
12-14-2012, 10:00 AM
Freddie is correct ... lionfish are voracious predators and reproducers. Because they are not a native species in the Caribbean, they do not yet have any natural predators. There are efforts underway to help control the lionfish population until nature takes over and native species, such as the yellow tail snappers, morays, groupers, etc. learn to eat them. Bonaire, maybe more than any other Caribbean island thanks to STINAPA and local divers, has really mobilized against the lionfish invasion and you can now make dives in the popular spots sometimes without seeing a single lionfish.

lorimich
12-14-2012, 11:49 PM
thank you.

and no question is ever dumb :)

ModCecil
07-25-2013, 06:14 PM
You know roving lion killing unmanned drones may be the only answer. Depressing news from all over eg...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZovApVGvJ4#at=333

And they are now in the deep water.

Kimfair
07-26-2013, 05:47 PM
Will just stabbing them once like the guy in the video is doing really kill them? I noticed quite a few, just swimmimg away after he speared them. Wouldn't it be better to spear and then remove them? Also, it was incredible just how many there were!

ModFreddie
07-26-2013, 06:06 PM
YES!!! put them in your LF keeper and then cook them up .. why let them go???

ModCecil
07-26-2013, 06:42 PM
I suspect there was way to many to cook, he did take a big one back. Now as far were they killed, if the swim bladder was holed they are as good as dead, no bouyancy control. I was surprised there was not a bunch of predators picking up the pieces. Right at the end of the video there was a shark moving in.

kob
07-27-2013, 08:28 AM
If you don;t kill them, you are "educating" them ... and they will be that much more difficult to kill for the next diver. If you don;t have a ZooKeeper, use a knife to puncture swim bladder (mid body behind the gills) and/or stab them in the brain & kill them, which is what we were doing a couple years ago on Bonaire before ZK's.

DiverVince
07-27-2013, 11:28 AM
Dumb and dumber comes to mind....I'll venture to guess that MORE THAN 50% of the LF he speared are alive today. They are difficult to kill! All he did was make things worse by failing to properly dispatch. They are now alive and "educated" and will flee when the next diver approaches.

DJD
07-30-2013, 03:56 PM
Does anyone know what the going rate is for lionfish meat by the pound?

Jim N
07-31-2013, 12:31 PM
While we did see fewer LF on this trip, than in recent years, but, we also saw a few MUCH larger LF than ever before. There were two @24" long, south of Southwest Corner, and I hate to think of how many natives it took to feed these two invaders.

kob
08-01-2013, 08:48 AM
DJD -- Bas Tol would have the most recent info on $$/lb for LF, but I seem to recall it was about $8/lb fileted.

grunt
08-01-2013, 02:17 PM
We noticed the same thing last May; fewer lionfish at recreational diving depths but the few we did see were HUGE! They were also tucked way back in the coral and would not be easy to get to.

DJD
08-05-2013, 09:51 AM
Kob, thank you. I will ask him on Facebook. I was asking because we were recently at a restaurant in the Bahamas (St Francis on Great Exuma) and they were trying to put it on their menu but the price they were seeing was $10/lb and $8 on sale, which they thought was too high. I just wanted to see if I could get a frame of reference. Guess that's about right.

dustcap
09-06-2013, 09:12 AM
Just a thought about lowering the Lionfish population. We just returned from 2 weeks of aggressive diving 3-4 per day and we're old folks. But we also saw fewer Lionfish and many we did see were little ones.
Last year I had a conversation with Ann Deloach and many know her and her husband Ned as authors and photographers of the wonderful Reef Fish and Corals etc. books that we enjoy (although they weigh a ton if you bring them in your dive gear) and have been helpful. In her opinion, Bonaire is doing the best job of controlling the Lionfish population of all three of the ABC islands. And she also pionted out that the Carribean in general has not stepped up to the plate like it should.
So, keeop up the good work divers on Bonaire and maybe STENAPA will take up the mantle again soon. Speaking tro some of the Marine Park folks they are depending on some divers who wabnt to hunt Lionfish to do much of the job of going after them
Dustcap

Charon
10-15-2013, 04:34 PM
I am writing as a trained Biologist and an avid diver. Though my current experimental interests lie in the arena of phototropic responses of orchid inflorescences I have not forgotten my undergraduate and graduate training. While lionfish tournaments and the promotion of lionfish as a delicacy can grab attention neither will have any real effect on controlling the lionfish population. Divers simply cannot kill enough of them and their proximity to reefs makes mass fishing efforts untenable. Moreover, their propensity for sometimes living deep protects them from any recreational divers.

The control of the lionfish population will rely on one, and only one, approach. The only method that holds hope is the establishment (Note: definitely not import) of a predator population. There is an experiment being conducted (I neglected to get the contact information) to attempt to introduce sharks to lionfish by feeding them killed specimens. While this may have some effect on shark feeding it will, more likely, simply have no more effect on lionfish populations than the Stewart Coves shark feeding dives in the Bahamas.

If we really want to develop a population of predators that consider lionfish as prey, we obviously need to present lionfish to them as a prey item – injured, weak, venerable, seriously damaged. Killing lionfish doesn’t do that. Causing severe injury does. A lionfish that has been severely injured, but left alive, presents all the cues that a predator needs to identify it as a food item. Predators take cues from other predators. The effect, with enough damaged lionfish, would be self perpetuating. With the establishment of a population that views lionfish as prey, the ecology would balance out.

It sounds cruel, yes. However, control is imperative and urgent. We desperately need to teach predators to consider the lionfish as a prey item. No other approach has any hope of success.

ModCecil
10-15-2013, 05:25 PM
You know what I think could injure Lion Fish a two penny medium velocity nail to the swim bladder. Maybe delivered by roving UW RPVs, I just love when a thread comes full circle. Bill Gates, Paul Allen etc.

wwguy
10-15-2013, 06:17 PM
If we really want to develop a population of predators that consider lionfish as prey, we obviously need to present lionfish to them as a prey item – injured, weak, venerable, seriously damaged. Killing lionfish doesn’t do that. Causing severe injury does. A lionfish that has been severely injured, but left alive, presents all the cues that a predator needs to identify it as a food item. Predators take cues from other predators. The effect, with enough damaged lionfish, would be self perpetuating. With the establishment of a population that views lionfish as prey, the ecology would balance out.

Some other trained marine biologists disagree with you. No offense, but I'm more inclined to agree with their view instead.

The following excerpt is from INVASIVE LIONFISH: A Guide to Control and Management (http://lionfish.gcfi.org/manual/InvasiveLionfishGuide_GCFI_SpecialPublicationSeries_Number1_2012.pdf), a document authored by a long and impressive list of marine science professionals and organizations. The entire 127 page documented can be viewed or downloaded from the link above.

"Divers in some parts of the Atlantic have attempted to entice top predators (sharks, barracudas, grouper, snapper, and eels) to consume captured lionfish in the hopes that predators will learn to hunt and prey upon lionfish naturally. To date, there is no conclusive evidence that native predators are learning to prey upon lionfish through this practice. Unexpected effects of fish-feeding activities include aggressive changes in predator behavior during encounters with divers. Recent incidents include severe injury to a lionfish collector’s hand from a barracuda bite (Figure 4.2) and harassment of other collectors by sharks and large groupers. These developments have proven the practice of feeding lionfish to predators as dangerous and counter-productive. In addition to serious human injury, the practice could also lead to injuries of top predators through diver responses to attack and/or increase in the ease of capture of predators that are conditioned to associate humans with food."

kob
10-16-2013, 07:10 AM
"While lionfish tournaments and the promotion of lionfish as a delicacy can grab attention neither will have any real effect on controlling the lionfish population. Divers simply cannot kill enough of them and their proximity to reefs makes mass fishing efforts untenable."

I also will disagree with your premise above ... the LF population on the reefs of Bonaire has been significantly decreased over the past two years due to the sustained efforts of the local diving community. When I am on island, I actively hunt LF and you just don't see them on some dives.

I am not saying that there isn't still a problem, but the local diving community on Bonaire seems to be doing a great job holding them in check. My personal opinion based on first-hand observation.

ModCecil
10-16-2013, 08:54 AM
I did see that in the Keys also, very few LF where divers went. They told me they have an active program to control them around the active dive sites. No saying what is happening deeper and or further out.

Charon
10-30-2013, 01:19 PM
... Unexpected effects of fish-feeding activities include aggressive changes in predator behavior during encounters with divers. ...

If you read my post - specifically "There is an experiment being conducted (I neglected to get the contact information) to attempt to introduce sharks to lionfish by feeding them killed specimens. While this may have some effect on shark feeding it will, more likely, simply have no more effect on lionfish populations than the Stewart Coves shark feeding dives in the Bahamas." - you would know I do not advocate feeding captured/dead lionfish to predators.

What I do advocate is causing severe, debilitating injury and then allowing the injured fish to swim away and draw attention of predators (away from the diver) due to their injured, weakened behavior. No one is trying this. Easily done with a simple pointed, non-barbed tip.

Charon
10-30-2013, 01:23 PM
I also will disagree with your premise above ... the LF population on the reefs of Bonaire has been significantly decreased over the past two years due to the sustained efforts of the local diving community.

Divers are only getting the lionfish at recreationasl depths. Lionfish frequent depths substantially deeper than that. They have been reported to 400 feet in numbers. No divers are going to impact that population.

kob
10-30-2013, 02:28 PM
Divers are only getting the lionfish at recreationasl depths. Lionfish frequent depths substantially deeper than that. They have been reported to 400 feet in numbers. No divers are going to impact that population.

Agreed ... but most reef fish breed in recreational depths and most juveniles (i.e. lionfish prey) live at recreational depths. Hence the need to limit their populations in the 40m and above depths.

wwguy
10-30-2013, 09:14 PM
If you read my post - specifically "There is an experiment being conducted (I neglected to get the contact information) to attempt to introduce sharks to lionfish by feeding them killed specimens. While this may have some effect on shark feeding it will, more likely, simply have no more effect on lionfish populations than the Stewart Coves shark feeding dives in the Bahamas." - you would know I do not advocate feeding captured/dead lionfish to predators.

What I do advocate is causing severe, debilitating injury and then allowing the injured fish to swim away and draw attention of predators (away from the diver) due to their injured, weakened behavior. No one is trying this. Easily done with a simple pointed, non-barbed tip.

I read your post. Twice. You advocate "teaching" predators to eat lionfish by presenting them with "injured" prey. I get it. Your assumption that the predators won't associate the mortally wounded fish with the humans who inflict the injury is unrealistic. How do you propose to injure the lionfish in a manner that leaves them alive yet debilitated long enough for divers to exit the area before the lionfish are consumed by predators or expire?

The quote you cited from my previous post didn't originate with me. I clearly quoted it from an in-depth study authored by an impressive list of experts on the subject. Frankly they appear to be significantly more qualified than you or I regarding the subject matter at hand. Did you read it? I ask because your reply argues with my quoted excerpt, but not any of the content contained in the 100+ pages of the publication.

ModCecil
11-01-2013, 05:27 PM
I think we have a solution...

http://inserbia.info/news/2013/10/ads-worlds-first-underwater-machine-gun-revealed/

:):):)

Charon
11-02-2013, 09:28 AM
I read your post. Twice. You advocate "teaching" predators to eat lionfish by presenting them with "injured" prey. I get it. Your assumption that the predators won't associate the mortally wounded fish with the humans who inflict the injury is unrealistic. How do you propose to injure the lionfish in a manner that leaves them alive yet debilitated long enough for divers to exit the area before the lionfish are consumed by predators or expire?

The Lion Tamer with a single point non-barbed tip would allow you to punch a hole and move off. Research has shown that prey of the lionfish in the Caribbean don't see them yet. Predators probably have the same problem, at least for now. However, I yield to your obviously superior information. I will read the full report though I haven't had time yet. I am interested.

tursiops
11-02-2013, 09:42 PM
Exactly how are sharks going to help in Bonaire? I've seen maybe 3 sharks in 15 years, over 25 trips. And what are the predators supposed to be? Finding one small lionfish in the gut of one large grouper hardly makes the grouper a major predator.....not that groupers are plentiful in Bonaire either! As far as I know, and I try and follow the scientific literature on this, the predators on lionfish are not known, even in their native habitat.

randl
11-02-2013, 10:08 PM
Anyone have recent census data to show lionfish impact on Bonaire reef fish populations? If lionfish populations are controlled anywhere, Bonaire would have to be among the leaders. So does anything else need to be done or have lionfish become a stable part of the Bonaire reef ecology?

wwguy
11-03-2013, 12:33 PM
Exactly how are sharks going to help in Bonaire? I've seen maybe 3 sharks in 15 years, over 25 trips. And what are the predators supposed to be? Finding one small lionfish in the gut of one large grouper hardly makes the grouper a major predator.....not that groupers are plentiful in Bonaire either! As far as I know, and I try and follow the scientific literature on this, the predators on lionfish are not known, even in their native habitat.

I agree. As noted by CIEE Research Station Bonaire (http://www.cieebonaire.org/News/Lionfish.html), "It is possible that grouper or sharks could prey on lionfish but the populations of large predators in the Caribbean are at about 10% of historical levels." Additionally Bonaire's leeward coastline, which makes for great diving, doesn't offer good shark habitat due to lack of persistent currents. As mentioned in the report referenced below, serranid (grouper) biomass on Bonaire's reefs continues to decline despite improvements in other reef health metrics in the last couple of years.


Anyone have recent census data to show lionfish impact on Bonaire reef fish populations? If lionfish populations are controlled anywhere, Bonaire would have to be among the leaders. So does anything else need to be done or have lionfish become a stable part of the Bonaire reef ecology?

STINAPA recently published the 6th in a series of Bonaire National Marine Park studies performed over the the last 14 years. All of the studies can be found on the STINAPA web site. This latest report is titled Status and Trends of Bonaire’s Reefs in 2013: Causes for Optimism (http://www.bmp.org/pdfs/Bonaire%20Rpt6-20-2013FINALsm%20copy.pdf). As implied by the title, this report identifies improvements in several areas since the previous report was released. (For the previous report see Status and Trends of Bonaire’s Reefs in 2011: Cause for Grave Concerns (http://www.bmp.org/pdfs/Bonaire_Report_2011_FINAL.pdf).)

Chapter 7 of the new report discusses predatory fishes, but the invasive lionfish is only mentioned in passing as 1 of 37 predatory fish species identified on the surveyed reef sites. The only specific mention of lionfish is as follows:

"Lionfish were observed at 7 of the 11 sites surveyed. The site with the highest lionfish biomass was Forest (0.17 kg/100m2). Lionfish biomass at the 6 other sites (Eighteenth Palm, Front Porch, Barcadera, Oil Slick, No-Dive Reserve) was substantially lower (<0.01 kg/100m2), usually amounting to only 1 or 2 small (<15cm TL) individuals (Pers. Obs.). Given the active efforts in lionfish removal by local residents and STINAPA officials on Bonaire, this was seen as a positive sign for the long-term mitigation of the lionfish populations."

Thanks again Bonaire Lionfish Hunters. Your ongoing efforts are much appreciated!

randl
11-03-2013, 03:07 PM
The notion of predators eradicating lionfish has other problems, as well. When apex predators effectively maintain prey populations, they don't eradicate them. Think lions and wildebeest. The lions cull the large wildebeest herd but in a healthy, stable ecosystem there will still be many wildebeest. The Bonaire Lionfish Hunters do far more than fish predators could to limit lionfish populations on Bonaire.

ModCecil
11-05-2013, 06:53 PM
The news just keeps getting worse.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONj4gqGmGg4

Which begs the questions, has anyone looked in Bonaire's deep water?

randl
11-05-2013, 08:31 PM
Perhaps, Cecil, but no one is talking about noticing fewer fish on the reef. Folks are still finding frogfish and seahorses and other seemingly vulnerable reef life. I'm not a lionfish apologist. I understand that invasive species can wreak havoc. But do we have havoc on Bonaire?

kob
11-06-2013, 09:02 AM
CIEE's latest report notes that there are fewer LF being seen on Bonaire's reefs ... and from personal observation I would agree. We saw far fewer this year than last year. The sustained efforts by local divers like Bas Tol, Bas Noij, Menno de Bree and others appears to be paying off. Bonaire appears to be in much better shape than other Caribbean islands because of the great work of the local divers.

susan
11-07-2013, 06:41 PM
Yes, there have been deep dives made this past summer, see http://www.bonaireinsider.com/index.php/bonaireinsider/unusual_biological_and_archaeological_discoveries_made_during_the_recent_de/. There were an abundance of lionfish seen on these dives at depth. Some technical divers do hunt in deep water, but probably there are not enough to offset them as they are in more shallow waters.

randl
11-07-2013, 09:15 PM
I didn't see a mention of lionfish in the linked article. Did I miss something?

susan
11-07-2013, 10:59 PM
Actually I provided that link in answer to ModCecil's question about whether or not deep water research had been conducted, not about lionfish in particular. Since the article was about the unusual finds made during the deep water research, lionfish were not mentioned since they are no longer "unusual." But it was widely publicized (at least locally) at the time that the deep water dives were made that lionfish were abundant at depth. Sorry if I confused the issue.

Charon
11-11-2013, 06:17 PM
OK - I am on island and what I am seeing is a lot of immature fish, much smaller than what I saw (and photographed) in 2011. I have yet to see one mature trumpet or parrot. I haven't seen a lionfish - which tells me the divers may be killing a lot of lionfish but not the right ones. A predator of lionfish (if established) will not eliminate but will control - simple biological feedback as in the environment where they are from.

mpement
11-13-2013, 06:29 PM
The news just keeps getting worse.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONj4gqGmGg4

Which begs the questions, has anyone looked in Bonaire's deep water?

I live on Bonaire and have done hundreds of dives here beyond recreational limits and hunt Lionfish on every dive, usually in the company of others diving in recreational depths. I have posted the results of these dives on "Bonaire Lionfish Hunters" Facebook page and elsewhere (such as the DCNA website) and can assure you all that there are indeed Lionfish at every depth. Often when my companions find none above, I'm still able to kill dozens below. When the population is reduced at 150' it's only a matter of dropping to 200' and then 250' and on until it's no longer practical to hunt because the time at depth becomes so short.

It is also true that the populations are complete at these deeper depths; as the fish come in all sizes even as deep as 400'. The good news is that once a population has been reduced at depth (as is true on the reef above) it takes many months to regain strength and even six months after culling at any certain site, the population remains small. The bad news is I'm still finding deep structure that has never been hunted where the Lionfish are large and abundant.

Chasin Tales
01-19-2014, 06:44 AM
The problem is widespread and getting worse. Here's a dive report from Pensacola, Fl: http://www.pensacolafishingforum.com/f34/offshore-lionfish-report-12-17-18-13-a-265721/

A few years ago there were zero lionfish in the northern Gulf of Mexico. You can see from the report how bad they are now. It will be impossible for divers to control the lionfish population in the GOM. It might be somewhat possible in Bonaire where diving is extensive, year-round, and close to shore. There is too much area to cover in the gulf for this to be a solution.

As stated previously, the only reasonable solution for the Atlantic basin as a whole is to establish predation on the lionfish.

randl
01-19-2014, 11:03 AM
Establish predation? Is there an example we could review?

Chasin Tales
01-19-2014, 12:12 PM
Establish predation? Is there an example we could review?

Well, sure...

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0021510

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGNGAlXZnKY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M6W2tTsM6Q

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/pictures/110404-sharks-lionfish-alien-fish-invasive-species-science/

Google:
"grouper feeding on lionfish"
"shark feeding on lionfish"

You will find plenty to keep you busy for a while.

kob
01-19-2014, 12:26 PM
Natural predation takes a fair bit of time to develop ... in the mean time, doing as much as we can to keep LF off the first 30m or so of reef will help to ensure that the other reef species stand a chance. Culling of LF by the local diving community has already had a positive impact and should continue to be part of the solution.

randl
01-19-2014, 02:55 PM
The links are reports of folks trying to encourage predation but none provide evidence that it is working. Taking them one by one...


Well, sure...

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0021510

"...chronic overfishing will probably prevent natural biocontrol of lionfishes in the Caribbean."

Now here's an idea worth pursuing. If, say, groupers become lionfish predators, overfishing them would hinder their effectiveness.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGNGAlXZnKY (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGNGAlXZnKY)

This is a video of a tame grouper being hand-fed a seemingly dead lionfish. I don't mean to be negative but is that a sustainable way to encourage grouper predation?




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M6W2tTsM6Q (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M6W2tTsM6Q)

A video of a Goliath grouper being fed a dead lionfish. See above.

(http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/pictures/110404-sharks-lionfish-alien-fish-invasive-species-science/)
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/pictures/110404-sharks-lionfish-alien-fish-invasive-species-science/

This is a very brief article mentioning an attempt in Roatan to train sharks to eat lionfish. Quoting from the three paragraphs, "If these predators start to see lionfish as prey, eventually, in time the lionfish may be kept under control as a part of the ecosystem. That was the idea."

That was in 2011. At least two years later it's a fair question to ask. Is there any evidence that encouraging predation works?

Chasin Tales
01-19-2014, 03:52 PM
Are you trying to prove that there will be no predators for lionfish?

It all supports the basis of natural predation. Control by divers will help until natural balance is established, which will likely take years or decades, but divers alone won't win the battle. In Bonaire, control by humans will have a greater impact than other places.

Regardless, it's going to be a battle that I won't see won in my lifetime. The exponential growth curve these fish are realizing will likely result in localized devastation of some native fish populations. It wil then be at the point where predators don't have many other options. Keep an eye over the next couple years on the Gulf of Mexico reef fish numbers. The reef pyramids in the report I originally posted are supposed to be covered in red snapper and baitfish. Divers are now finding no snapper and no baitfish, just lionfish. If I went out every day and dove three spots I have marked to clear them of lionfish, it would take me over 1,000 days to hit every spot. That is from the bay to 50+ miles offshore.

Given the following:
• Lionfish become sexually mature in less than a year and spawn in pairs
• Reproduction occurs throughout the year about every 4 days
• In the Caribbean, a single female lionfish can spawn over 2 million eggs/year
• Lionfish eggs are held together in a gelatinous mass of 12,000 to 15,000 eggs and are
dispersed at the ocean’s surface by currents
• Their larval duration is approximately 25 days

You can quickly do the math and realize this is not a problem that can be controlled basin-wide by divers. Every day there's more eggs/larva drifting to Bonaire from who knows where. The larger the population grows elsewhere in the basin, the more that will be finding their way to Bonaire.

Keep digging on google...
http://www.news-press.com/article/20120514/GREEN/305140006/Are-predators-eating-lionfish-
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00338-008-0372-9

randl
01-19-2014, 05:08 PM
Please don't mistake my comments as disbelief in lionfish predation. I'm only skeptical that "encouraging" predation by introducing a few fish to dead lionfish is an effective way to control lionfish. I'm not sure what you meant by "It all supports the basis of natural predation."

Here's a quote from the first link in your last post.


"I don't know if anyone has done a quantitative study of predation rates of lionfish by native predators, but it would be great news if, in fact, local predators are eating them. That's the kind of thing that could keep them in check."


That's my point. There's no clear science on the current status of lionfish predation.

In some parts of the world lionfish populations are naturally controlled. Balance will come but no one seems to know how at this moment.

ModCecil
01-27-2014, 01:21 PM
More fuel for the fire and at least a bit of good news.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122134240.htm

Which leads to my current thinking, that is, it's a lost cause in the Atlantic basin with one exception. Where they are actively hunted they can be controlled and the reef can still flourish (assuming they are not destroyed by warming, acifidication, or sewage), where they are not hunted the reefs may be doomed until nature catches up. But with active seeding from the good reefs could recover in time. It may be time to quote Arlo Guthrie to the army sargent.

KILL, KILL, KILL..

kob
01-27-2014, 02:30 PM
Excellent article, Cecil. I think it definitely reinforces the success of the efforts of the local LF hunters on Bonaire.

And thanks for the "Alice's Restaurant" flashback ;)

randl
01-27-2014, 10:56 PM
I'm puzzled by the lionfish tendency to eliminate all other life on the reef. What do they eat then....each other?

"and he started jumpin' up and down' with me yellin' KILL! KILL..."

lorimich
02-16-2014, 12:53 PM
An open invitation - if anyone wants to hunt lion fish but you don't like to eat them, we will take them off of your hands! We'll be at SD the 15th-30th. :cool: Just email me.
Lori

DiveSergeant
02-16-2014, 05:18 PM
More fuel for the fire and at least a bit of good news.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122134240.htm

Which leads to my current thinking, that is, it's a lost cause in the Atlantic basin with one exception. Where they are actively hunted they can be controlled and the reef can still flourish (assuming they are not destroyed by warming, acifidication, or sewage), where they are not hunted the reefs may be doomed until nature catches up. But with active seeding from the good reefs could recover in time. It may be time to quote Arlo Guthrie to the army sargent.

KILL, KILL, KILL..


Sounds like a plan. I'll start as soon as I get off the Group W bench......:cool:

thom
02-22-2014, 12:56 PM
What's happening in the "protected" marine reserves? Are they monitored?

randl
02-22-2014, 10:30 PM
I'm not sure I understand what you're asking. The marine reserves are very actively protected and monitored. STINAPA does a great job.

Why did you put quotation marks around "protected"?

chetwood
02-23-2014, 06:30 AM
Like the area just south of the oil tank farm, the no diving/no fishing allowed zone.

thom
02-23-2014, 11:14 AM
Randl, since the subject of this thread is the Lionfish, I thought it was pretty clear that I was asking about the population of Lionfish in those protected areas. The quotes was specifically about protection from Lionfish intrusion. I doubt there are any contrived Lionfish deterrents there however, if there are I would like to know.

The question remains, what is happening to the reefs in those areas? Without human predation, have the Lionfish wiped out the smaller reef fish? Are the native fish adapting?

kob
02-23-2014, 12:02 PM
Excellent question, thom. I guess we'll have to hear from Menno de Bree, Ramon de Leon or one of the other active local LF hunters with access to those areas to know.

wwguy
02-23-2014, 01:06 PM
Here's an applicable study that Ramon recently shared on the Bonaire Lionfish Hunters Facebook page. It includes comparison of sites "fished" (lionfish hunted by divers) vs. "unfished" (lionfish not hunted by divers), including the Karpata to Bopec marine preserve.

Effectiveness of lionfish removal efforts in the southern Caribbean (http://www.bmp.org/pdfs/2013%20De%20Leon%20et%20al%20Lionfish%20removal%20efforts%20in%20Southern%20Caribbean%202013.pdf)

It's my understanding that initially the lionfish hunters weren't allowed to hunt lionfish at all in the marine reserve. But in the last year or so they've been given occasional access under BNMP supervision. During the period discussed in the study above the northern marine preserve area was considered "unfished", meaning LF hunters weren't removing lionfish there.

randl
02-23-2014, 01:34 PM
Thom, my understanding is the same as wwguy's. That is, recently lionfish hunters have been given limited access to the protected areas. I don't recall the hunters reporting areas of where small reef fish were wiped out but a comment from one of the hunters (Bas? Anyone?) would be great.

randl
02-23-2014, 11:21 PM
Reading through Ramon's article linked in wwguy's post above, I see that the authors may be assuming some lionfishing is occurring in the Bopec - Karpata area. Here is a quote from the Conclusion portion of the article. "Unfished locations on Bonaire that often bordered fished locations (Fig. 1) [this includes the zone from Tailor Made to Karpata - randl] also showed an average reduction in lionfish biomass of 28% relative to unfished locations on Curaçao, which is probably related to the fact that some people still target these areas to remove lionfish.

Ramon...if you're out there, we'd love to hear from you.

ModFreddie
02-24-2014, 05:47 AM
i believe I read somewhere that Ramon and some others DO indeed dive in that area for the Lionfish.... I believe they take the day and try to clean out as many as they can... they don't do it frequently but maybe once every few months.. I think I read that in the Lionfish hunters section of facebook... I will TRY to find it it was a while ago...

ModFreddie
02-24-2014, 06:19 AM
the last recorded dive there was in Nov 2013 .. if you are on FB try Bonaire lionfish hunters in the search engine..

kob
02-24-2014, 08:09 AM
Menno de Bree regularly takes certified LF hunting groups, including Ramon, out by boat to cull LF ... they rotate locations, sometimes Klein, sometimes the Park and I assume maybe those northern sites that are normally off-limits.

susan
02-24-2014, 09:46 AM
There are organized dives in the reserves about two or three times a year, when a great many of the hunters all go up together for a day or two and remove as many lionfish as possible. So yes, it is being cleansed.

thom
02-24-2014, 11:20 AM
I read the study. It tells us lionfish hunting programs are moderately successful in controlling the populations of lionfish. The study is not concerned with the effects of the lionfish on local fish populations over time.

The important question remains unanswered. What is happening to local fish populations in those areas where there is no human predation? Specifically, are local fish populations showing signs of evolving in ways that they (the prey of the lionfish) are protecting/defending themselves? Are local predator fish populations showing signs of evolving in ways that will limit the growth of lionfish populations?

We humans will be able to change things only at the margins. That may be critical in providing time, maybe not. If local fish populations do not evolve rapidly enough, human actions may be merely whistling in the wind.

kob
02-24-2014, 01:57 PM
As I and several others have mentioned in previous posts, the abundance of juvenile reef fish in 2013 was clearly noticeable compared to 2011-2012. It appears that the sustained aggressive LF hunting efforts by the local divers, at least a recreational depths, are having a significant beneficial impact on the overall health of the local reef fish populations.

Sparty
02-25-2014, 10:00 AM
As I and several others have mentioned in previous posts, the abundance of juvenile reef fish in 2013 was clearly noticeable compared to 2011-2012. It appears that the sustained aggressive LF hunting efforts by the local divers, at least a recreational depths, are having a significant beneficial impact on the overall health of the local reef fish populations.

We have been on the island for 3 1/2 weeks, diving once a day, and our observations were that someone is doing a pretty good job keeping the lion fish under control. Diving mostly Deep South
to Bari reef down to 70 feet, we have only seen 2 or 3 lion fish.

kob
02-25-2014, 11:10 AM
Excellent news, sparty !!

DiverVince
02-28-2014, 04:31 AM
Been hunting these guys almost daily for the past 2 months on the west side of Bonaire and at Klein. Within recreational dive depths, it certainly appears there numbers have been reduced from years past. The local cadre of LF divers on island are doing an excellent job in reducing their numbers on the reefs accessed by a majority of divers. I have noticed however an increase in size on some of these guys. Additionally many now are in holes and may not be seen by divers who are not actively searching for them. Additionally a greater percentage are more skittish of divers and their bubbles and will head for cover when divers are in the area. Bottom line from what I see is:
1. Many of them know they're being hunted,
2:their presence is still on the reefs albiet in what appears to be reduced numbers and
3: I'm able to extract larger specimens (some at 40 cms or greater) than last year. They still taste as good as ever.

grunt
02-28-2014, 08:06 PM
Vince, I have to agree on the total numbers being down but the remaining lionfish being much larger, and hiding way back in the coral.
The hiders are certainly of eating size!

ModCecil
03-20-2014, 05:31 PM
Sigh!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHbdEXJD748#t=42

grunt
03-20-2014, 08:28 PM
Great video.
Due to lionfish hunters our group doesn't see that many at recreational diving depths in Bonaire.
Those we do see are hidden back in the coral, not easy to get to and are really really big.
Kudos to STINAPA and all the killer/hunters.
Tastes way better than chicken!

DiverVince
03-21-2014, 01:12 AM
Ugh...They are nothing more than invading monsters.

Kent Gerber
04-09-2014, 07:22 PM
I dove Bonaire 1 month ago and seen 4 lionfish in 6 days of diving. I then went to Curacao and we speared 40 to 50 lionfish on every dive. I don't think Bonaire has as big of a problem as Cur.
They really r good to eat. Its now our favorite fish to eat. In fact we just ate lionfish 1 hour ago for supper. Yum, Yum good!!!

DiverVince
04-10-2014, 06:16 AM
Here's an interesting article just recently came across. However just because they are not hanging out in the open on the reef like in Curacao, rest assured on Bonaire they have gotten "smarter" and know they are being actively hunted. Ergo the casual diver will not see that many unless they are actively hunting them. We believe that their actual numbers are being diminished on Bonaire, but obviously no guarantees.
http://conservationmagazine.org/2014/04/does-hunting-invasive-species-make-them-harder-to-hunt//

grunt
04-16-2014, 01:38 PM
this may be a glimmer of hope, but only if Bonaire keeps increasing the number of grouper.
http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2014/04/16/Sharks,-grouper-learn-to-prey-on-lionfish/

DiverVince
04-17-2014, 12:56 PM
Thanks for posting, but I am a bit unclear as to exactly what we can conclude from the "tethering" of lion fish to the reef. Obviously this is not their natural state of being.
1. How does this change their behavior
2. How were they tethered?
3. If they were tethered and they are now missing how were they attached to the reef?
4. Most of the "smart" Lion fish from my past observations this winter were in holes and not out in the open.
However, I think I can conclude unequivocally; DO NOT EAT GROUPER. If you see it in restaurants do not order it (no matter where they represent it's from).

dustcap
04-23-2014, 04:44 PM
We first saw them about 6 years ago and we had corks with yellow streamers on them. We usually saw 3 or 4 on every dive. We were tying the streamers (ribbons) to dead coral next to the Lionfish because they rarely moved from their hangout. Park personel were hunting them. We often would go on line and report their location so that Rangers could "harvest " them. One day we came in from a dive and I had just marked the location of a big one (most were fairly small then) and 5 minutes later a Ranger came out of the water with that very same Lf. Now that's quick. <grin> Actually he saw me tying the cork and came along right behind me.
Each year we noticed fewer and fewer. However sometimes when cruising deep 80 to 120 ft. I notice more of them. that is what will probably keep them around. they go deeper and fewer divers will go after them.
This past year we usually saw about 1 per dive. I doubt they will be removed from the Island reef anytime soon.
Dustcap

DiverVince
04-24-2014, 05:44 AM
Please note that the old system of tying corks with a yellow ribbon on the reefs is no longer being practiced. In the early stages of the invasion this may have been helpful, but now it just clogs up the reef. So please no more tying yellow ribbons.

alwayswet
03-19-2015, 07:27 PM
How about a spear / small dart that injects CO2 into the lion fish so they float? Then the birds can pick on their bodies till they are gone..
Just my .02...

Bill

hroark
03-19-2015, 07:37 PM
It would be awesome if some of us who enjoy diving there could kill them.

On my rebreather, I can sneak up on them and kill them before they even know they're being hunted.

I'm no allowed to do so though, unless I'm with the appropriate person "teaching" me how to do it.

On at least one of my dives in October, I counted at least 50 in one small section. Were I allowed to kill them, I could have made that a nice lionfish free zone.

kob
03-20-2015, 07:46 AM
hroark -- any number of dive shops can do guided LF hunting dives with you after you have taken the course. You can rent ELF's & ZK's and LF hunt to your heart's content. At VIP Diving, they have a PADI-approved Lionfish Hunter distinctive specialty course as well. Your challenge will be finding a dive shop with a DM or instructor who also has a rebreather to get to your depths and for your bottom time. There are a lot of nice size LF right now on the Windjammer.

mpement
03-20-2015, 06:25 PM
On my rebreather, I can sneak up on them and kill them before they even know they're being hunted.


As a rebreather diver on Bonaire with 3461 kills (along with my open circuit wife Berit) I can assure you it's not that easy to "sneak" up on them. They are either "uneducated" or "educated" and the rebreather makes no difference when the educated fish see you coming their way!

I'm always looking for a rebreather buddy; email me the next time you're on the island!! mpement@aol.com.

kob
03-20-2015, 07:50 PM
Michael ... if you get a chance, dive the Windjammer ... I was there a couple weeks ago (unfortunately without my ELF) and must have seen at least 30 large, "uneducated" LF near the starboard side (side against the bottom) and all over the asphalt field coming from the ship's hold ... Astrid Verstappen & I just looked at each other and wished we'd had our spears with us ... enjoy !!

hroark
03-20-2015, 11:33 PM
Last trip I had a few 2 to 2 1/2 hour solo dives, it was total heaven for me! I've been out with Bas as well, he can almost keep up with me.

Next time I'm hoping to hit the Windjammer.

Bob T
06-29-2016, 09:39 AM
Good Morning Everybody. I have a bit of information today about the lionfish and how it is going to change the Mediterranean waters. I just finished reading the Scientific American magazine and they were saying that divers and fisherman sightings of lionfish have colonized nearly all of Cyprus' southeastern coast, and that the animals' numbers are expected to grow. I didn't think about this species anywhere else except the Caribbean.

alwayswet
04-04-2017, 12:49 PM
I know this has its own set of complications however it's along the same lines..
https://youtu.be/6lG-snJZIV8

kilroy aka roy rayman
05-04-2018, 12:09 PM
is this the start of the end of the Lionfish in the Atlantic ??

sick lionfish on bonaire - a worldwide phenomenon? (https://www.divers-guide.com/en/news/sick-lionfish-bonaire-worldwide-phenomenon)

smits
05-04-2018, 12:19 PM
Remarkable!!