October 19, 2009 Leave a comment
When I was in the Turks and Caicos a couple of months ago, we saw Lionfish on pretty much every dive we did, if not all the dives. This fish is a native of the Pacific Ocean so had no business being in the Atlantic. It would like seeing a polar bear in the middle of the jungle.
In fact it is a voracious predator consuming very large quantities of small fish, threatening reef ecosystems.
The Economist has a very interesting article about the issue and steps which are being taken to control their population:
Mr Dimin’s company works with fishermen who practise sustainable fisheries management, and helps them get their catches into the sort of high-class restaurants frequented by wealthy conservationists. Mr Dimin got his idea from the appearance in some resorts of “lionfish rodeos”, in which holidaymaking divers round the fish up, and which are usually followed by lionfish cook-ups on the beach. He learned from these that the fish, suitably de-spined, are delicious (they taste like snapper). That got him wondering if consumer demand might be a force powerful enough to halt even an invasive species as successful as the lionfish.
Next week I will post an update about the sorry state of shark populations.