Lionfish, that needy, clingy friend that you just can't get rid of
Don’t be fooled by their flamboyant fins and chilled out demeanour. They’re great company at first, then on further inspection you realise they’re a problem with far more destructive capabilities than you first imagined. They disrupt the dynamics of a peaceful environment. Like that needy clingy friend you can’t get rid of.
It seems then, TCI is faced with a problem. The Lionfish is a white and brown-striped top-tier predator, armed with dorsal spines and pectoral fins. Notorious invaders of warm marine environments, they feed on native species and by eating small fish and crabs that are crucial to the day-to-day maintenance work of the reefs, they pose an alarming threat to the TCI’s ecosystem.
However, with problems come proactive solutions, and in TCI the problem has triggered island-wide activities, rendering Lionfish both the top dish on menus and the top priority on cultural agendas. The Reef Sanctioned Lionfish Derby, an annual event held across the Caribbean, claims it has removed a whopping 12,600 Lionfish since its opening in 2009; an impressive feat and one that advocates that the solution, really is in numbers. Other events include Lionfish catching competitions, cooking events and well-publicised recipes from local chefs that have coined the phrase “If you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em”.
So, as the hunters by night become the hunted by day, it’s clear that if we all come together to protect our reefs, it’s a matter of time and perseverance before these pesky critters can be controlled. Until then, here’s a good read: The Lionfish Cookbook courtesy of Tricia Ferguson and Lad Akins.
Turks & Caicos Reef Fund: http://www.tcreef.org/
Turks & Caicos Reef Fund Founder: Don Stark, email@example.com
Lionfish Derby events: http://www.reef.org/lionfish/e...
What is a Lionfish? https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/...