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‘Red Lion fish is impossible to eradicate…’, says Marine Biologist

‘Red Lion fish is  impossible to eradicate…’, says Marine Biologist

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Marine Biologist at the University of the West Indies Kim Baldwin has advised that it is going to take a collaborative effort to control the Red Lion Fish.{{more}}

Baldwin, speaking at a press conference of the Ministry of Agriculture on Monday, also said the presence of the Red Lion Fish is bad for the country’s fishing industry.

“The fact that these Lion Fishes can come in and basically eat everything, or 90 per cent of the fish on the reef can be destroyed in a five-week period and that’s very bad for fishing.”

According to the Marine Biologist, at first you will see one Lion Fish in a month and the next month you’ll see five and within three months you are going to see hundreds.

Baldwin described the Lion Fish as a very vicious carnivore that eats anything in sight, including juvenile fishes, adult fishes and baby lobsters.

Scientists estimate that the Lion Fish can eat up to one and a half fish every hour and eat all day.

According to Baldwin, the Lion Fish grow very quickly and can grow up to 20 inches and weigh over 2 lbs.

They become sexually active the first year of their life. They live up to 15 years and spawn and breed throughout the entire year and release up to thirty thousand eggs every four to six days, she said.

“So, by the end of this year, this is going to be a serious issue,” she stated.

She advised that according to scientific research, it is impossible to eradicate the Red Lion fish, as presently they do not have any predators living among them in our waters.

“We are not thinking that we are going to be able to eradicate them, but the goal at this point is to controlling them and reducing their numbers.

Baldwin said to date, humans are the fish’s only predators and they need to be killed as quickly as possible.

“Every fisherman needs to get on board with this project, the dive shops, the general community; we need to take collaborative action,” Baldwin said.

“We cannot to rely on the government to solve this issue. Throughout the Caribbean persons are joining forces with their governments; they are taking a collaborative approach. The people are coming together with the government and the fishermen in particular…”

Another important point mentioned by Baldwin is that people need to be educated more about the Red Lion fish.

She said other Caribbean territories that have been affected by the Red Lion fish have developed a National Response plan, which mainly focuses on public education.

The Marine Biologist also noted that there are a number of creative initiatives that are being undertaken throughout the rest of the Caribbean region to control the fish, including cooking and eating the fish.

Fisheries Officer Raymond Ryan revealed that as part of efforts to reduce the population of the Red Lion Fish here, plans are in place for a new event to be added to the Fisherman’s Day activities for this year.

According to Ryan, the event dubbed the ‘Red Lion Fish Competition’ will be implemented by the Fisheries Division, to reduce the infestation of the venomous fish in Vincentian waters.

Ryan said the Fisheries Division will soon be offering training in how to properly clean the Lion Fish before attempting to use it as a dish.

Once properly cleaned and cooked, the Lion Fish can be eaten by humans.(AA)

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