Invasive introduction and range

Two of the twelve species of Pterois, the red lionfish (P. volitans) and the common lionfish (P. miles), have established themselves as significant invasive species off the East Coast of the United States and in the Caribbean. They have been described as "one of the most aggressively invasive species on the planet".

The red lionfish is found off the East Coast and Gulf Coast of the United States and in the Caribbean Sea, and was likely first introduced off the Florida coast by the early to mid-1990s. This introduction may have occurred in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew destroyed an aquarium in southern Florida, releasing six lionfish into Biscayne Bay. The lionfish may have been purposely discarded by unsatisfied aquarium enthusiasts.

In June 2013 lionfish were discovered as far east as Barbados, and as far south as the Los Roques Archipelago and many Venezuelan continental beaches.

P. volitans is the most abundant species of the invasive lionfish population in the Atlantic and Caribbean.

Population densities continue to increase in the invaded areas, resulting in a population boom of up to 700% in some areas between 2004 and 2008.

The lionfish invasion is considered to be one of the most serious recent threats to Caribbean and Florida coral reef ecosystems. To help address the pervasive problem, in 2015 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partnered with the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute to set up a lionfish portal to provide scientifically accurate information on the invasion and its impacts. The lionfish web portal is aimed at all those involved and affected, including coastal managers, educators and the public and the portal was designed as a source of training videos, fact sheets, examples of management plans, and guidelines for monitoring.

As divers what can we do to help? We can hunt & and eat it!

Lionfish as Food campaign

In 2010, NOAA began a campaign to encourage the consumption of the fish. The "Lionfish as Food" campaign encourages human hunting of the fish as the only form of control known to date. Encouraging the consumption of lionfish could not only help to maintain a reasonable population density, but also provide an alternative fishing source to overfished populations, such as grouper and snapper. NOAA also encourages people to report lionfish sightings, to help track lionfish population dispersal.

 
 
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CSG Special Package: Lionfish Hunting

Program:

  • 7am to 8am Pickup at your Cruise Ship Terminal (Paradise Hotels Bus)

  • ETD 9am boat departure for 2 dives for lionfish hunting

  • Base ETA in West Bay at 12:30pm

  • Return to your Cruise Ship Terminal (Paradise Hotels Bus) at time assigned by you

Dive Sites selection:

We will take you to less popular dive sites for higher chances to get lionfish.

Included:

  • Round trip from your Cruise Ship Terminal to Paradise Beach Hotel using our bus (has a/c)

  • 2-Tank dive @9am, including dive guide / divemaster & valet service

  • 80 cf / 11 liters tanks filled with regular Air & weights

  • lionfish spear and lionfish container

  • cold water, fruit & snacks on the boat

  • fresh water bins for rising cameras, mask & dive computers on the boat

  • Paradise Beach Hotel day pass including access to West Bay white sand beach, beach chairs, towel and swimming pool

  • $3 .00 daily Roatan Marine Park fee

  • Honduran taxes and credit card fees

$100.00 USD / diver

Not included:

  • nitrox32, +$8 / tank

  • equipment rentals (prices are per day)

    • full gear except (wrist dive computer and torch), $10

    • regulator only, $5

    • BCD only, $5

    • Wrist Dive Computer, $10

    • Flashlight LED, $10

    • Wetsuit, $5

    • Mask, Snorkel & Fins, $5

    • X-Deep Sidemount BC/Harness, $20

    • Sidemount Regs, $20

  • private Divemaster, + $50

  • underwater photographer, photo bookings, $100 / group max 4pax