Lionfish Proposal

by Myrna Bush

Recently I went to Cozumel to dive with Gynna. We went prepared to catch many lionfish.

We dove the Columbia Wall and the Columbia Shallows. We saw fewer than 10 very small lionfish
on the deep dive, and none on the shallow dive.


This tells me that the efforts that all the dive shops in Cozumel are making are working! They work together. They all hunt. Unity is the key for any success. They recently organized a lionfish contest where they caught 1,904 specimens in one weekend!

We were told that most lionfish now are congregated where the docks and piers are because diving is not allowed there. I was also told that the big ships drag in water for their stability in Florida and then they come here, release that water, and when some eggs or specimens survive, they are then released here, and vice versa.

It is unending. We can only try to control its reproduction. And it is working in Cozumel. We were also told that there is now a factory where all lionfish are deposited and then sold to restaurants. Someone is already commercializing the lionfish!
I propose that we organize a lionfish hunt 3 times a year in Akumal. I propose that all 3 dive shops in Akumal have a lionfish hunt dive once a week and invite all dive masters, instructors and divers in the area to participate. This event should not be held on the same day as another shop. They should all pick a different day to do this. It is more effective this way.
If we continue to do this in unity and perseverence, we will control the lionfish explosion in our area and we will save our indigenous species.
I am willing to do my part with my team to help organize this, and to train about the safe and effective methods of capturing lionfish, which we have developed together.

Method for catching lionfish:
It takes 2 people to effectively catch a lionfish safely and diligently.
One spears it. It is still alive. Same person, or buddy, stabs head with a knife to kill it. Two reasons for this: 1) It ceases to suffer; 2) It will not escape out of the bag every time it is opened to put another lionfish inside.

With two people it is easier to accomplish all this. One opens the bag and holds it, while the other takes out the long kitchen tongs, to take the fish off the spear and put into the bag.
Tightly draw strings on the bag and continue the hunt.

And according to Chef and lionfish hunter Gynna:

ALSO, when hunting lionfish it is important NOT to hit them from above. You must get to their level or a bit lower than they are, and the fish should be showing its side, to ensure a sure shot.
For lionfish stings:
All injected: Dolac (Ketorolaco 30mg) analgesic
                  Dexametasona (Alin 8mg)  analgesic
                  Betametasona  for allergic reaction  IF NEEDED OR FOR PREVENTION; up to the patient.

Topical: Xilocaina (Xylocain) or Lidocain local anesthetic (optional)
See this video to hear some of Gynna's menu ideas and to see ways she is serving up lionfish at her GynnAK Restaurant.

Photo courtesy of National Geographic. To learn more about lionfish, read here.

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