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Lion fish population gets a big hit during hunt in marine reserves

On Saturday afternoon, August 22nd, STINAPA Bonaire organized a two tank dive in the marine reserves where divers are normally not allowed. The 31 divers were split between two boats, The Pressure Drop of Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino and the Buladó. The boats were back before dark with a huge load of lionfish. A total of 288 of this invasive species were taken out in one afternoon.

Until 2009 the lionfish didn’t exist in the waters surrounding Bonaire. Because of this, lion fish don’t have natural predators and are not being hunted by any marine creatures. Since the first lion fish was spotted in October 2009, they have reproduced rapidly and have spread throughout Bonaire and the rest of the Caribbean. Lion fish specifically target the young marine animals on our reef and can very quickly eat a lot and reproduce often. The lionfish is a threat to the biodiversity on our reefs and should be removed as thoroughly as possible. They are very tasty and several restaurants on Bonaire have lion fish on their menu!

The fish caught during this hunt will be offered by Rum Runners and the Bonaire Culinary Team as their specialty dish “ceviche” at the event "Smaak of Bonaire” on September 10th in Scheveningen, Netherlands.


Three STINAPA rangers ended up catching the most fish. They caught more than 25 fish per person during two dives! They were not participants in the competition so prizes went to:

Most fish:                    21 caught        Susan Porter

Largest fish:                44 cm -            Kevin O'Brien

Smallest fish:              7.5 cm -           Cassandra O'Neal

Our heartfelt thanks to all hunters, volunteers and our sponsors of the Shark Week event:

DCNA, National Postcode Lottery, Bonaire CulinaryTeam, TCB, El Mundo, Best Brands Bonaire Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino, Capt. Don's Habitat, Buladó, Bonaire Big Game Fishing, Bon FM, Rum Runners, Spice Restaurant, Woodwind Guided Snorkel Tours, Buddy Dive Resort, It Rains Fishes, Jong Bonaire, Kant'í Awa Snack, PEW, Plaza Resort Bonaire.