When I got to Deshaies on Guadeloupe, my dad and I saw three lion fish swimming around the mooring block we tied onto. But those were not the first I have seen on my trip aboard Strider. The first one I saw was when I went to Barbuda, when I was exploring a reef off of Spanish Point. The lionfish that I saw was in a crevice in the coral. I was so exited that I yelled, “lionfish”! As soon as I said that word, my sister screamed. I was so exited about the fish that I gave it a name, Spike. The reason I named him that is because I was so impressed with his fins and I thought his spikes were really cool. A lionfish is a type of fish that you don’t want to startle or touch. Their bodes are dark red with white zebra stripes, and they are covered with a layer of point like fins. These fins have venom in them, which ejects when touched. They are also not as slow or clumsy as they look. They are actually quite fast. But they are only fast for a short distance, which makes them easy to keep up with. When they swim fast, it is more like they are darting than swimming. These types of fish live in deep crevices in coral and rocks, which makes them difficult to spot.
Lionfish are an invasive species and we should do something about them. This type of fish was originally found in the Pacific Ocean, but it has spread, and they are now found throughout the Caribbean Sea, into the Gulf of Mexico and all the way up the East Coast as far north as Chesapeake Bay. They have also found a few of them in Connecticut and Rhode Island! The reason we need to do something about them is because lionfish have no natural predators and they eat any other fish up to 2/3rds of their own size. Since they have no predators, their populations is expanding and they are out competing other fish in the contest for food. If this continues, the lionfish will break the food eating world record, and other fish species will go extinct. I feel bad for the lionfish because people have been asked to kill them whenever they see them. If you are trying to kill one, I recommend going up quietly and using a long weapon. I would not advise trying to kill one with a weapon like a dagger. And most importantly, look out for the spikes. Would you like me to tell you what happens when you touch them? Ok, when touched, the spikes are not the only thing that causes injury. The venom also can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but it is rarely fatal.
In the end, we know what will happen. Either lionfish will take over, or we will stop them. Since I am living on a boat, my family and I go out and explore lots of different reefs. And every place we go, when we go to a reef, I always look for lionfish and enjoy them because they look so much different from most of the fish I’ve seen. But I also think this…. It will be very hard to do something about them with so many and since they are hard to spot. But with the right gear and the right strategy, I know that there might be a way.