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JimMc
07-15-2011, 01:09 PM
This is very interesting. Bas, you could teach this course.

http://links.bonnierenthusiast.com/servlet/MailView?ms=NDkxMzQ3MgS2&r=NzM2MDM0NjM4OAS2&j=MTgxNDMwNzUxS0&mt=1&rt=0

Cecil
07-15-2011, 01:32 PM
Dang I like that and would do it in a heartbeat, if offered.

DiverVince
07-15-2011, 02:52 PM
Call me cynical, but I view it as simply a way to commercialize on a bad situation.
If there's a way to make $$/an economic opportunity, PADI will do it.:(

DiveSergeant
07-15-2011, 09:36 PM
Call me cynical, but I view it as simply a way to commercialize on a bad situation.
If there's a way to make $$/an economic opportunity, PADI will do it.:(

PADI = Put Another Dollar In!

Still, I bet I'll do it on our next Cayman vacation.
DS

BrianL
07-16-2011, 02:56 AM
Ha

I have the PADI Pearl Diver card from Bahrain, we also got 24 pearls during the course.

JimMc
07-16-2011, 11:37 AM
Put Another Dollar In :D:D:D:D

Vince, I have to agree with you. And they may be a day late and a dollar short on this. Although I have not been to the Cayman Islands, I was appalled at how many lions were in the Turks and Caicos when we did the Aggressor two years ago. And there were some biggies too.:mad:

In April, while on Bonaire, we saw them on every dive. I am interested to see how St. Kitts and Saba will be next week. We are leaving next Saturday out of St. Kitts on the Explorer for a week up to St. Maarten, and then another week back to St. Kitts.

DiverVince
07-16-2011, 04:58 PM
PJ..We go to Bonaire in 2 weeks so I'm curious to see how many more LF there are since we were there in March. I have my super duper fillet knife ready to go & Nina is coming armed with cerviche recipes.:D

I have fond memories of some great boat diving over at the Caymans; GC, CB & of course Little Cayman's Bloody Bay wall. The diving on LC was great as well as the bonefishing! Unfortunately there was nothing else on the island which is why we never returned.

Strikesystems
07-17-2011, 03:02 AM
Ok so I am the prototypical "vacation" open water diver that would be interested in this type of course. Now that I have qualified myself, I will try to explain what I am not understanding. I am recently recalling an article I have read in a scuba diver magazine (I will have to double check to verify the exact publication, from a woman named Ann or Annie, if memory serves me correctly) in Bonaire who teaches divers about Lion Fish elimination. The article lead me to believe I could take an informative class about lion fish and ultimately partake in the safe (to the reef) and active elimination of them from the ecosystem.

HOWEVER, it seems upon a very thorough review, that I would not necessarily be granted access to the ELF mechanism to actively remove the lion fish myself. To be quite honest, I'm more confused than I was before reading the article. What am I paying for if I can't see a LF on a future dive and safely remove it from the reef? I get that there are lots of issues with handing divers a spearing type device and turning them loose. So what exactly does this course teach me?

To be accurate, I guess I will have to return home (I'm visiting my Mom's this weekend) and find the article to specifically cite this author and article. I would actually pay to be taught how to safely "euthanize" (read: "kill and remove") these fish. But if we aren't armed to remove them, why exactly would I spend half a day of our vacation (and money) to learn something about a fish, when I can already identify and tell somebody their location?

I'm not posting this rhetorically, I simply don't understand, what is the deal here?

DiverVince
07-17-2011, 06:39 AM
Peter..Let me clarify the situation if I may.. There is no divemaster on the island that can authorize you to hunt lionfish; PERIOD. Any authorization to use the ELF MUST come from STINAPA which is the government entity in charge of protecting the marine park. If you want to know more about what they do, their website is: http://www.stinapa.org/index.html.

The ban on spearfishing has been in force on the island now for many decades. So in view of the recent LF invasion they are slowly letting/authorizing individuals to use the ELF to assist in their destruction. A contract must be signed with STINAPA.

As an FYI we have a whole group on Facebook (Annie does post there) if you would like to read more info on this or pm me if you need additional info.

Strikesystems
07-17-2011, 01:04 PM
Ok,thanks Vince. I only hope STINAPA are as aggressive (in letting you regulars on the island hunt them) as the invasion itself. The chief reason we wanted to visit the island was the marine park and its protection of the reefs, so I understood the spearfishing ban with appreciation. Ironically the ELF may be the only thing to protect the reef now. I will pm you if I have any lingering question on the topic. Thanks.

tursiops
07-17-2011, 03:40 PM
There are actually TWO lionfish courses being offered: one is the PADI distinctive specialty that does NOT do any spearing....that is the one linked to in the Caymans. The other is the one developed in Bonaire and is about the use of the ELF, and requires STINAPA approval, and allows you to hunt only with a local guide.

The first course (the PADI one) is not really useful on Bonaire because using nets to catch the fish is really ineffective and works best on reefs not like Bonaire's fringing reefs; it was developed in the Bahamas and works OK with coral heads and sand. Also, even very experienced netters will end up touching the coral now and then (probably more so than spearers) so the BMP will not be happy to see people carrying nets around. In fact, I suspect is is not "legal" to teach the class on Bonaire because of the nets and the teaser stick that are required.

The second course (the STINAPA one) is inhibited by requiring a local guide. If you really want to kill the fish, you've got to let people go do it. the typical visitor for a week will probably do 20-30 dives and is probably happy to kill lionfish as they run across them on each dive, but not willing to hire a guide for each dive just in case.

Strikesystems
07-17-2011, 10:23 PM
Good info Tursiops, thanks. I would hope that every dive shop operation who runs boat dives would be on board with a "guide" and an ELF device going forward. That way any divers on the dive can point them out. At least that is a solid start.

DiveSergeant
07-18-2011, 09:43 AM
I'm all in for a course that allows me to locate and kill the lionfish and then prep them for dinner.

But, a course that simply charges me $$$ to tell me how to spot them and then tell someone else so they can catch/kill them is not in my plans.

Fact is, I want to be the hunter, not the bird dog!

The Cayman link alluded to letting the PADI-certified lionfish diver actually hunt and kill the fish, but maybe I mis-read it. Anyway, I have a full year or so before I re-visit my beloved Cayman Islands so I have time for plenty of research into the topic.

DiverVince
07-18-2011, 11:43 AM
Fact is, I want to be the hunter, not the bird dog!

.

I like that analogy!!! :D

Bas Tol
07-18-2011, 01:59 PM
[QUOTE=DiverVince;393680]PJ..We go to Bonaire in 2 weeks so I'm curious to see how many more LF there are since we were there in March. I have my super duper fillet knife ready to go & Nina is coming armed with cerviche recipes.:D

Just curious, Vince. How are you planning on getting those lion fish to fillet and turn into ceviche??

tursiops
07-18-2011, 04:30 PM
The Cayman link alluded to letting the PADI-certified lionfish diver actually hunt and kill the fish, but maybe I mis-read it.
The link says, "The course explains why action is needed now to control the lionfish population and describes a practical way to safely, humanely capture and euthanize these fish." What that means is capturing with a net, not spearing, and then using clove oil to euthanize. Cayman is letting you loose to do such capture, but Bonaire is not, at least not without a local guide. What we really want in Bonaire is license to spear/kill on the spot, and without a guide. But that is hoping for too much.

DiverVince
07-18-2011, 04:53 PM
[QUOTE=DiverVince;393680]

Just curious, Vince. How are you planning on getting those lion fish to fillet and turn into ceviche??


Bas..Rest assured I would never do anything contrary to the policies set forth by STINAPA. You DID read that article in this issue of the Bonaire reporter, right?? :eek:

annieols
07-18-2011, 05:55 PM
Ok everyone there is mostly mis-information regarding the PADI Lionfish awareness and elimination course in this post, so i would like to clarify what the course covers, what elimination techniques are covered, and STINAPAs elf policies.

First of all, i think the main reason there is so much misinformaition is because the course has progressed with STINAPAs changes to the rules regarding the elf. Originally only about a hundered volunteer divers were allowed to use the elf; the spear was only allowed to be used by the diver it was assigned to and was only allowed to be used with lionfish. Then STINAPA allowed for divers who were visiting the island for longer periods of time and fit their criteria (which i wont speculate on as i am not them), to take an introduction course at STINAPA and rent the elf for the remainder of their stay. Most recently, STINAPA has given some dive shops rental spears to be used in courses for their divers. The requirements for divers to get access to these spears is that they must be 18 years old, must participate in a knowledge presentation, and two dives with an insructor at a ratio of no more that 4 to 1. After the course, if divers want to continue to use the elf they must be under the direct supervision of a shop DM or instructor. The Elfs are rented to the shop who accepts all responsibility for their use.

My lionfish course basically progressed with these changes. Originally, it was only knowledge and a dive where you assisted your instructor in elimination(similar to the Diving with the Naturalist course, for those of you who are familiar). We had many requests to earn certifications, so we developed a PADI based distinctive specialty course. It includes a manual, knowledge development presentation, and two open water dives with an optional confined water session (target/ buoyancy practice). when the course first launched students assisted in lionfish elimination by sighting lionfish and collecting them, but the use of the elf was for instructors only based on STINAPAs rules.

There was much talk about trying to get students permission to use the elf spear in a course. I spoke to Ramon at STINAPA several times, showed him the course and waited for STINAPA to set up such a system. In April (or may?) we received 8 longer elfs for the use of our students. Now, in the course students are 100% allowed by STINAPA and the dive shop to use the elf tool under the direct supervision of our instructors. The students are not allowed to take the elf tool after the course unless they are with one of our dive staff.

So now the course looks a lot like this: pick up your manual and read through it. first 1/2 day session: meet for a knowledge review discussion, on land practice with the elf and complete dive one. Dive one combines the confined water session (target and buoyancy practice in the shallows), followed by a patrol on our house reef. Students learn about sighting, marking, collecting and spearing with the elf. and ultimately it is their decision which techniques they prefer to pracice on the dive. The second 1/2 day session: meet and review the sighting report forms, talk about technique changes, and then head out on a patrol on the reef of choice. Remeber the course ratio is 4 students to 1 instructor. After the course students receive a PADI certification card.

I hope that this has cleared up much of the misinformationpreviously reported. Please let me know if you have any further inquiries.

tursiops
07-18-2011, 10:25 PM
Ok everyone there is mostly mis-information regarding the PADI Lionfish awareness and elimination course in this post, so i would like to clarify what the course covers, what elimination techniques are covered, and STINAPAs elf policies.

First of all, i think the main reason there is so much misinformaition is because the course has progressed with STINAPAs changes to the rules regarding the elf. Originally only about a hundered volunteer divers were allowed to use the elf; the spear was only allowed to be used by the diver it was assigned to and was only allowed to be used with lionfish. Then STINAPA allowed for divers who were visiting the island for longer periods of time and fit their criteria (which i wont speculate on as i am not them), to take an introduction course at STINAPA and rent the elf for the remainder of their stay. Most recently, STINAPA has given some dive shops rental spears to be used in courses for their divers. The requirements for divers to get access to these spears is that they must be 18 years old, must participate in a knowledge presentation, and two dives with an insructor at a ratio of no more that 4 to 1. After the course, if divers want to continue to use the elf they must be under the direct supervision of a shop DM or instructor. The Elfs are rented to the shop who accepts all responsibility for their use.

My lionfish course basically progressed with these changes. Originally, it was only knowledge and a dive where you assisted your instructor in elimination(similar to the Diving with the Naturalist course, for those of you who are familiar). We had many requests to earn certifications, so we developed a PADI based distinctive specialty course. It includes a manual, knowledge development presentation, and two open water dives with an optional confined water session (target/ buoyancy practice). when the course first launched students assisted in lionfish elimination by sighting lionfish and collecting them, but the use of the elf was for instructors only based on STINAPAs rules.

There was much talk about trying to get students permission to use the elf spear in a course. I spoke to Ramon at STINAPA several times, showed him the course and waited for STINAPA to set up such a system. In April (or may?) we received 8 longer elfs for the use of our students. Now, in the course students are 100% allowed by STINAPA and the dive shop to use the elf tool under the direct supervision of our instructors. The students are not allowed to take the elf tool after the course unless they are with one of our dive staff.

So now the course looks a lot like this: pick up your manual and read through it. first 1/2 day session: meet for a knowledge review discussion, on land practice with the elf and complete dive one. Dive one combines the confined water session (target and buoyancy practice in the shallows), followed by a patrol on our house reef. Students learn about sighting, marking, collecting and spearing with the elf. and ultimately it is their decision which techniques they prefer to pracice on the dive. The second 1/2 day session: meet and review the sighting report forms, talk about technique changes, and then head out on a patrol on the reef of choice. Remeber the course ratio is 4 students to 1 instructor. After the course students receive a PADI certification card.

I hope that this has cleared up much of the misinformationpreviously reported. Please let me know if you have any further inquiries.

It appears there are now THREE courses: the PADI Project AWARE Distinctive Specialty course I described in an earlier post, which has an instructional guide supplied by PADI and uses nets, not an ELF, a private PADI Distinctive Specialty described in the quoted material above, and a STINAPA course using the ELF which does not provide a PADI card of any kind. It is my understanding that the latter course is what is provided at Buddy Dive, for example.

DiveSergeant
07-19-2011, 06:32 AM
I like that analogy!!! :D

Thanks!:D

DiveSergeant
07-19-2011, 06:35 AM
annieols,

Thanks for taking the ime to help clarify things. I imagine there'll be plenty of changes as things mature, so it will be interesting what develops.

An army of divers could make a dent in teh population of lionfish, but could also do great damage to the reef. I'm glad to see bouyancy as part of the class.

DS

Strikesystems
07-19-2011, 01:27 PM
Thanks Annie.
It's good to see STINAPA quick to review their policy and adapt as necessary. It seems like they are at least moving in a positive and active direction.

Matt
07-20-2011, 09:55 AM
My experience as a tenured marine aquarist and a 'news' watcher, Lionfish do damage wherever they like. Lion fish seem to eat plants, corals, soft and hard, Polyps, inverts, etc. They have been as far north as the US' east coasts. They are pretty, but are adapting and growing their territories.

Bonaire Jay
02-19-2012, 01:19 PM
http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/204943612865079/ for current blog