Lionfish Hunt

If you don’t know anything about lionfish you probably would see one and think it a beautiful sight on a reef, or in a fish tank. Well, they are beautiful, adorned with wing like fins, but these striped flags hide barbs, which help them pump venom into any potential predator. The thing is that they were beautiful in people’s fish tanks until they got too big, then were released into the ocean to over populate non-native waters and take over unimpeded because they have no natural predators here. Lionfish infestation has been happening all over the caribbean from Florida down to Bonaire for the past several years, some islands have banished them to the deep while others are still finding ways to control their population and make use of them.
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lionfish-hunt-2Today Rich and I went on 2 dives with Eaon and ‘Inches’. Eaon showed us how to use a pole spear, how to approach the lionfish and how best to insure a kill. I know this might sound crazy coming from a plant based girl, but to be honest any local sustainable practices are of interest to me and this was one sustainable practice I’ve been interested in learning more about since I heard of the lionfish problem and how they were threatening the reefs I loved so much.

Holding the sling was thrilling, lining up, getting so close to the biggest lionfish I’d seen out here all of it was fantastic. I felt adrenaline rushing through my body similar to the feeling of penetrating a wreck for the first time, or entering the water on a moonless night dive. Even watching Rich, especially when he connected shot after shot to bring in his own lunch! It was beautiful to watch him dive, so comfortably, and work on a new skill at depth. It was incredible to have an underwater learning experience together, sharing a ‘first’ as we embarked on the hunt together.

After each dive we came out of the water, dumped out the catch and started cutting off the toxic barbs and fins, before gutting them. Inches and Rich took care of most of them while Eaon schooled me on how they deploy their venom through channels in the barbs. After cleaning the catch from the second dive we picked up bags of ice and headed to the grill with our catch. The fish were marinated in a spice blend and slapped on the grill! Coleslaw was made to accompany, and fresh, self caught, moist, flakey and delicious lionfish was served!

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I am stoked that Rich enjoyed himself and was able to provide his own food in the most natural, sustainable way, which is exactly what we aim to do more of while living here. There really is such beauty and pride in providing your own food from the garden, sea or land depending on what you are working with. Right now, we are working with the sea, and our beautiful land in Toucari that we can’t wait to start turning soil on! We both look forward to more dives together, and when the time comes, another hunt.

If you would like to learn more about the current lionfish situation in the caribbean and why it’s a problem that can be controlled and it’s effect reducedΒ  Read this and READ THIS

Peace & Love
Kayla & Rich

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