North Carolina Update

I am a Lionfish hunter as well here in North Carolina. Unfortunately we have to go about 25 miles out and 120’ – 140’ deep to get to them. I have great system so I can get 25 to 40 fish in two 15 minute dives (well as long as the Sharks stay away).

BTW My recipe: I like to put a large shrimp followed by a chunk of Lionfish on a skewer and dip it in a Beer Batter or Pancake Batter then roll it Coconut. Refrigerate for 30 min then deep fry. For the dipping sauce us 1 cup Orange or Mango marmalade with 1 tbl of a Caribbean Hot Sauce.

Josh Burns

Bahamas Update

Went snorkeling today in Bottom Harbour, N Eleuthera. There are several small patch reefs between Bottom Harbour Club and Cistern Cay a few hundred feet from shore. Everyone, no matter how small had at least 1 lionfish and several single rock reefs had 3 of them. We saw in total 12 to 15 size varied from very small 3inch to about 8 inch.
I know you can't use spear guns in the Bahamas, but can you use them to shot lionfish?
Thanks for your blog,
Mike Harris


letter from NOAA's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Dear Lionfish Hunter,
Thank you for raising awareness about the issue of invasive lionfish! I work for NOAA's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary where we have been working closely with the dive community since before the first lionfish was captured in the Keys in Jan 2009. With our local partners we have trained almost 300 divers in safe handling and collection techniques, and continue to train individuals and support diver-based control efforts.

I thought you, and possibly your blog readers, might be interested in the second annual Florida Keys lionfish tournaments which are kicking off in three weeks. Last year the inaugural series of three round-ups captured more than 660 lionfish — the largest of which was ~12" and the smallest ~5cm. Your blog post from Nov 2010 links to the Wall Street Journal article on tournaments last year.

I would greatly appreciate any help you could provide in spreading the word about these tournaments.

The press release on the 2011 derbies may be found online at http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/news/press/2011/pr041911.html
Photos from last year's Key West derby may be downloaded from http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/weeklynews/nov10/lionfish-hunt.html
Video from last year's Key West derby may be downloaded from http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/weeklynews/apr11/2011lionfishhunt.html

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) invite divers to participate in the Second Annual Florida Keys Lionfish Derby Series.

May 14, 2011: Fiesta Key Resort, Long Key, FL
August 20, 2011: Coconuts Restaurant, Key Largo, FL
November 5, 2011: Hurricane Hole Marina and Restaurant, Key West, FL

For more information, or to register online, visit http://www.reef.org/lionfish/derbies. Registration for teams of up to four divers is $120, and gets you a pair of puncture resistant gloves or a clear dry bag, and two awards banquet tickets.

Prizes for the top three teams in each category:

Most lionfish: $1,000 cash, $500 cash, $250 Divers Direct Gift Certificate
Biggest lionfish: $500 cash, $200 cash, $100 Divers Direct Gift Certificate
Smallest lionfish: $500 cash, $200 cash, $100 Divers Direct Gift Certificate

All lionfish must be captured from the waters of the sanctuary on the day of the derby. Mandatory captains’ meeting held the evening prior to each derby will feature a briefing on safe capture and handle techniques. The derby will conclude with a lionfish tasting and awards banquet. View derby rules online athttp://www.reef.org/reef_files/2011FLKeysDerbyRules.pdf

Local hotels and boat rental companies are offering discounts to lionfish derby participants. For discounts for the May 14 derby, visithttp://www.reef.org/lionfish/derbies/MiddleKeysInfo

Safe diving and thanks again for bringing attention to this invasive fish,

--  ----------------------------------------------- Karrie Carnes Communications Coordinator Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (NOAA) 305-809-4700 x236 (w) 305-304-0179 (c) 305-293-5011 (f) www.floridakeys.noaa.gov www.facebook.com/floridakeysnoaagov

Cayman Island lionfish news