Lion Fish in the Caymans About two years ago the first lion fish was spotted in Little Cayman. Since then, they have grown in numbers and have become a regular sighting on all three islands.
One thing is agreed on, they are here to stay. Although they are a beautiful fish, they don’t belong in the Caribbean and they can devastate a reef system by eating all the baby fish. They have incredible appetites and nothing seems to eat them!
The Cayman Islands had a quick, direct and well organized response to this invasive species. The Department of Environment, together with REEF, put together a free and comprehensive awareness and education program. The course was informative and answered all the questions we had. After all, they look like beautiful fish and none of us wanted to harm them. With this education, we were granted a license to catch the fish. The idea being, as they have no predators in these waters, we can try to keep the population under control until either we (humans) find an answer, or a local predator is found.
No one knows exactly how they ended up here. The best guess is that the lion fish escaped from an aquarium damaged by a hurricane in Florida. They have traced the population back to just 6 fish. From that small amount of fish, they have populated the east coast of America from New York to the Caribbean.
Living The Dream Divers is committed to helping promote awareness and preserving our reefs. We are working with the Department of Environment to do our part in keeping the numbers of lion fish under control. Until a natural predator is found, it has to be us.
What do you think?
Gary is a PADI Master Instructor and an RYA 200 ton Off Shore.Having worked all over the world as a dive instructor and boat captain. He has spent the last 20 year based in the Cayman Islands. Together with his wife Liz they have built the number one scuba diving operation in the Caribbean.