Lionfish are becoming a huge problem for marine environments. The fish look stunning, and have some loyal fans, but they are carnivorous. They are eating the native fish they come in contact with, and taking over. Now one fisherman has come up with an innovative solution for how to hunt down the eating machines.
[Scroll Down for Video]
The underwater vermin go by many names. NOAA lists these: “lionfish, zebrafish, firefish, turkeyfish, red lionfish, butterfly cod, ornate butterfly-cod, peacock lionfish, red firefish, scorpion volitans, devil firefish.”
To date, there’s no effective way to treat the growing infestation. The fish are moving into the warmer waters off the coast of Florida, and extend all the way from the Caribbean to the coast of the Carolinas.
“Lionfish have distinctive brown or maroon, and white stripes or bands covering the head and body,” NOAA writes. “They have fleshy tentacles above their eyes and below the mouth; fan-like pectoral fins; long, separated dorsal spines; 13 dorsal spines; 10-11 dorsal soft rays; 3 anal spines; and 6-7 anal soft rays. An adult lionfish can grow as large as 18 inches, while juveniles may be as small as 1 inch or less. Lionfish have cycloid scales (fish scales that are oval or elliptical in shape with a smooth edge).”
Some are netting the fish. Others are hunting them with spear guns.
Yet the one-at-a-time approach isn’t denting their explosive growth. That has led some to test out drone subs, too.
One way to tackle the problem is to encourage people to eat them. “Every chef likes to be sustainable in what they are doing,” Chris Kenny, head chef on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, told Reuters. Kenny, and other chefs, are trying to promote the fish as a delicacy.
“Lionfish are going to keep spreading, and it’s not going to stop unless people step in and do something about it,” he added.
Yet the fish are not easily processed. “The spines of this species deliver a venomous sting that can last for days and cause extreme pain,” NOAA writes. The venom causes “sweating, respiratory distress, and even paralysis. Lionfish venom glands are located within two grooves of the spine. The venom is a combination of protein, a neuromuscular toxin and a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine (pronunciation: ah-see-toe-coe’-lean).”
They are hard to clean, and provide very little meat. That hasn’t stopped them from being hunted. Some, like the team behind the video below, like the sport.
The Glock won’t push a projectile far underwater. The water adds resistance to the bullet’s flight and it slows it almost immediately. Yet there is still enough energy to kill a fish at close range. Check out the video below by Courtland Hunt.