Thursday, January 6, 2011
Lionfish: one down, thousands to go
I had the opportunity this weekend to dive the Wreck of the Rhone in the BVI. While exploring we noticed a Lionfish Marker. Upon closer inspection, sure enough the Lionfish was hanging out less than a foot away. We didn't have the necessary equipment with us. The only equipment we had was to keep us breathing. After our dive we informed the captain/owner of Paradise Watersports on Peter Island, Randy Keil, and he suited up and headed out on the hunt. Because we had already been down for so long, it would have been unsafe for us to go back to that depth for any period of time. Five minutes later he surfaced victorious. It was my first in-water sighting (we have a preserved one named Leon at our Activities Desk) and Randy's first successful capture. The British Government has supplied all BVI dive operations with gear for catching Lionfish.
-Clear Dry Bags
-Clear plastic nets (nets is misleading because they didn't have holes, but looked like an oversized aquarium scoop)
-Heat pack should you get stung in the process, which is supposed to neutralize the venom
Here on St. John Karl Pytlik is leading the charge in the Lion Fish war. Here are two links to vidoes explaining what is going on:
Lion Fish, Part One: The Concern
Lion Fish, Part Two: How You Can Help
We've had Karl out to give a presentation before, and we hope to have him out several times this season to help educate us even more. He is putting in a lot of great work, and with out his organization and charge, we would not be making progress on St. John as we engage this invasive species. Karl runs the Friends of the Park Store in Mongoose Junction and has a few lionfish in an aquarium, stop in to check them out and see the cool natural gifts they have in stock. We'll see if we can't get a guest blog entry from Karl sometime.