Losing battle against Lion Fish

ST. JOHN’S – Two years since the first sighting of the troublesome Lion Fish by local fishermen, there has been only mixed results in efforts to control the invasive species.

In fact, divers report seeing a new “generation” of the fish that has little known natural predators.

“They are full grown now,” said recreational diver Shawn Clarke of English Harbour.

Last year, he proposed the idea of eating the fish to entice more fishermen to catch them as a control method.

He said the idea has had some success “because we have a circle of people who are eating them, but we want to get it more out there.

“We do Lion Fish burgers which are coming on pretty good and people are really enjoying them and it’s going to get more popular,” Clarke said.

Fit for fine dining

He made reference to the Cayman Islands where the fish has reached the dinner tables of exquisite restaurants.

Despite the success with consuming the species, Clarke is concerned people have given up hope of eradicating it completely.

“There is nothing we can do about it now. I have just advised all the fishermen to kill them when they see them. If they don’t take them out we will end up having less fish,” he said.

The lionfish is a voracious feeder, which consumes vast amounts of young fish and has for some time been recognised as a threat to the local fishing industry.

A population explosion in the past 12 months has seen the species spread from Florida, to the Bahamas, St. Maarten, Nevis, Dominica and now it appears Antigua & Barbuda too. (Antigua Observer)

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