My first Lionfish encounter

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Aqualectra_20100327_008_smallOn Saterday March 27, 2010, my buddy and I went diving at Fisherman's Wharf (behind the desalination plant). The previous weekend we dove here too and went because of the current to the right (West). This time we wanted to go left and luckily the current allowed this. There was some current, more than usual but not too strong to swim against.

During the first half of the dive we found a small turtle laying in the sand apparently in deep sleep because he allowed us to take pictures from quite nearby. Proceeding with our dive we saw (once again) a "big cloud" of dust in the water. The last time this cloud was yellow, this time it was just milky, but apparently someone is still dumping something in the water at this site.

After thirty minutes we started our return at about 10 - 12 meters along the wall. Drifting with the current I suddenly saw a strange movement against the wall. That appeared to be a Lionfish; larger than I expected because I had heard from other sightings that the fish was still young and relatively small. This one was between 15 and 20 cm (6 - 8 inches) from head to tail. Nearby another small Lionfish was also clinging to the wall. 

Lionfish_gespiest_smallAfter the dive I got a picture of a colleague instructor who killed a Lionfish with a small specially fabricated trident. He asked me the question if it was really necessary to kill these fish. I have to say that it hurts to see such a beautiful creature speared like this. So I started reading on the Internet about the invasion of the Lionfish in the Caribbean and I also got in touch with Carmabi the organization for Caribbean Research & Management of Biodiversity in Curaçao. It appears to be absolutely necessary to try to stop the invasion of this fish in our waters because there are no natural enemies in our waters except the human being. If we don't try to stop the invasion we get situation like in this picture that is made near North Carolina. Lionfish_invasion_nc_smallCarmabi asks all divers to notify them when they see a Lionfish so they can catch him and analyse the stomach content. Ultimately the goal is to kill the fish but first they want to know what they have eaten recently to get an idea of the diversity of their prey. Spearing with a short trident (50 - 60 cm) is allowed provided it is only used against the Lionfish, using a speargun of course is not allowed. Even if killed Carmabi wants to get the fish for further study so please bag the fish, put it in the freezer and notify Carmabi so they can come to pick it up. Put on the bag the location and depth where the fish was caught.