Some new AQUATIC allies join the fight against Lionfish in Roatan
(DiverWire) – Dive operators and resorts are welcoming any help available in the growing battle against the invasive lionfish. In Roatan, officials with the Roatan Marine Park have revealed some new “allies” – the local snapper and grouper populations.
“It’s true,” says Nic Bach a director with the Marine Park. “It’s not like we are trying to train the fish or alter natural behavior, but every time we get in the water with tools (spears) to collect lionfish, the snappers and groupers swim right beside us. In fact, they even show us where the lionfish are hiding.”
Like other Caribbean scuba diving destinations, Roatan has seen its lionfish population grow over the last few years, especially in the West End/West Bay part of the island. Members of the local dive community often volunteer to go hunt the lionfish. The snappers and groupers are helping make it even easier.
Says Bach, “All we have to do spear them, then the other fish sometimes fight to take the speared lionfish right off of the spear.”
The Roatan Marine Park is doing its part to educate the local community. The Park has produced a 20-page booklet in both English and Spanish that outlines safe ways to track and hunt lionfish. For more details, visit the Marine Park website at http://www.roatanmarinepark.com/