The Story of Lionfish in Dominica
In 2011, Lionfish first arrived in Dominica as an invasive species. Their natural home is in the Indian and Pacific Oceans where they are admired for their beauty and live in harmony within their eco-system. Because of their unique beauty, Lionfish were brought to America through the aquarium trade. In the late 1990s, Lionfish in Florida entered the eco-system and made their way first into the Atlantic Ocean and then down into the Caribbean Sea. Here, in a brand new marine environment, they had NO predators. They reproduced rapidly (laying 40,000 eggs every 4-7 days) and they grew to more than two-thirds beyond their normal size, voraciously eating our beautiful tropical reef fish. In studies of uncontrolled reefs, lionfish reduced biodiversity by 85%.
The Lionfish migration from Florida to Dominica took a decade.During this time, our local Dive Center owners were monitoring the situation and forming a plan. So when the first lionfish reached our shores near Portsmouth in January of 2011, Dominica was ready. From this moment, our Dive Centers teamed up with Fisheries Division to educate the fishermen and the public about this “new” species.
Here in the Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve, you are not permitted to hunt any fish while on scuba. Government acted quickly by allowing an exception to this rule for Dive Shop Operators, so that we could begin to contain the Lionfish Invasion.
We began hunting the lionfish and to our great delight, they were indeed delicious! Promoting the sale of lionfish as a new menu item was a terrific bonus in the battle against the Lionfish.
Now, ten years on, we have been successful in rescuing the Dive Sites from this invasive species. We not only eat them, but one of our star Dive Instructors, Desirée Bell, makes jewelery from them!
As a sea lover and conservationist, Desirée saw the beauty of the lionfish and figured out a way to bring it to YOU.
During the filleting process, she removes the fins, dries them and prepares them to accept colour. Her creative technique for fashioning Fins into Finery has been a hit! And more importantly, it helps support the continued monitoring and culling of the Lionfish from our Caribbean Reefs to keep our marine environment in balance.
Thank you for being a part of the Lionfish Journey by purchasing this jewelery 🙂
Read more about it in Diver Magazine:
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