Visiting and local scuba divers alike can now get certified and licensed to help cull the invasive red lionfish. These lionfish have now become a major menace for the Cayman Islands. Cayman dive operators can now teach the PADI Lionfish Tracker Distinctive Specialty course. Upon completion, a local lionfish culling license will be provided. Some Cayman dive operators are now offering reduced course fees to visitors and residents this fall. Currently there are boats running from various dive operators each week to use these new skills.
“Snorkelers can help too as many lionfish can be found in shallow waters just off shore and in the canals in the North Sound. This is prime breeding ground for lobsters, groupers, snappers and more, so removing lionfish from the North Sound can play a huge role in helping to cull the invasion” stated Nancy Easterbrook of Divetech. “They are tasty – a light white fish that needs a little special handling while filleting to remove the venomous spines, but well worth it. Many restaurants are now serving lionfish on a special or full time menu, so ask for lion fish when you are next out to dinner, or try it at home. Not only will this help create a market for the lionfish, but it will have the positive side effect of reducing the demand for the ‘traditional’ eating fish like conch, grouper and snapper, allowing fish stocks to grow and be sustainable.”
Contact your local diver operator for further information.