Lionfish in the Atlantic Ocean
Updated: Jan 6, 2022
Lionfish are an invasive species in the Atlantic Ocean with no natural predators in Bermuda's waters. They can consume other species that are larger than half of their own size and they reproduce at a staggering pace. It is important we try our best to control their population if we want to mitigate the negative impact they have on Bermuda's reef biodiversity.
Lionfish will virtually eat anything that crosses their path. I think of them as a giant vacuum but instead of picking up dust, they just sort of suck up any marine species nearby. Their stomach also keeps expanding and can increase to even thirty times its regular size. "A single small lionfish may reduce the number of juvenile native fish on any given reef by approximately 79% in just 5 months" is just a staggering statistic to try and wrap your head on the impact they can have on Bermuda's reef biodiversity. With no one above them in the natural food chain in the Atlantic ocean, we must do our part to spear them and find creative ways to get their population under control.
Population of Lionfish
Apart from the absurd amount of other fish they eat, another frightening fact is the rate at which they reproduce. "Female lionfish reach sexual maturity after roughly one year and lay anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 unfertilized eggs EVERY FOUR DAYS." The sheer volume off eggs they produce, combined with how often they can spawn means we may not ever fully eradicate them. However we can do our best to try and keep them under control.
Ways We Can Help
Here are some ideas to help keep the Lionfish population under control:
Get your spearfishing license and start culling them today!
In Bermuda, email email@example.com and purchase a regulation spear, you can spear lionfish either freediving or scuba diving, then keep track of your culls at lionfish.bm
You should also check out the Bermuda Lionfish Culling Program: https://www.facebook.com/BermudaLionfishCullingProgram/
Find Creative ways to use them!
Follow @sew_brew on Instagram, we are currently using real fins and tails of speared Lionfish to make jewelry and accessories whether that be rings, pendants, keychains and hopefully much much more to come. This way we can promote the demand to cull lionfish, spread awareness, and also offer a cute and stylish product.
Eat 'em to Beat 'em
Start asking for them at restaurants, showing interest and proving to local restaurants that there is a demand to eat Lionfish will hopefully inspire more local restaurants to offer this fish on their menu and we can get people spearing them on a constant basis. It is a common misconception that Lionfish are poisonous, however only their spines contain venom and the meat is actually perfectly safe to consume, plus they are delicious!
Donate to the Lionfish Task force
Find out more information and help the task force in their research to learn more about lionfish, see where they appear most often with the interactive map, and reach out to them for further ways you can get involved.