Ocean Encounters

From: $90

Lionfish Scuba Dive Experience

To this day, the war against Lionfish rages on and continues to challenge hunters who give up their free time to help prevent more damage to the reefs and in turn, the local economy.

Whether you are staying at LionsDive Beach Resort, Sunscape Curacao Resort or any of on-island accommodation, at Ocean Encounters we organize groups and provide lessons on how to safely search for and catch Lionfish without disturbing or harming the surrounding reef.

Not only that, our professional Dive Masters also teach you how to carefully remove the spines and prepare it, making it the perfect meal for any fish lover.

The Lionfish Scuba Dive Experience includes a short introduction presentation about the Lionfish invasion and safe shooting lessons. Following the practical session, we will board one of four custom dive boats and head out for a dive to hunt lionfish!

Once back on board, we show you how to carefully filet this dense fish then serve you fresh sashimi for the short ride back to the dive shop! 

Are lionfish as harmful to the marine environment as we’ve been told?

Lionfish are voracious predators, both outcompeting native coral reef fishes for prey and also directly eating juvenile native reef fishes. They’re actually eating so many native fish that scientists studying invasive lionfish found an unusual tissue in them—it turns out that many Caribbean lionfish are obese.

According to the nonprofit Reef Environmental Education Foundation, lionfish can eat more than 70 species of native fish and invertebrates, including individuals up to half the size of the lionfish, and can eat 460,000 fish per acre per year—which has reduced native fish populations on some reefs by up to 90 percent.

Because they have no predators in their native range (yes, some groupers and sharks sometimes eat them, but not nearly enough to control their populations), they are found in super high abundance in the Caribbean—sometimes up to 200 fish per acre! In some ecosystems, about half of the total predator biomass is now lionfish, remarkable for a species that just wasn’t there 30 years ago. Oh, and they reach reproductive maturity in under a year, and one female can spawn over 2 million eggs in a single year.

So, lionfish are indeed an ecological problem.

What can we do about them? One of the most popular strategies is hunting lionfish with pole spears – especially here in Curaçao because any other form of “spear guns” including Hawaiian Slings are illegal. The goal of hunting Lionfish is clear – successfully remove a significant number of adult lionfish off the fringing reefs in Curaçao during any given dive.

Hence… WHY the Lionfish Scuba Dive Experience at Ocean Encounters! As diving professionals, our Dive Team, since September 2012, has been educating divers about lionfish and controlling the population along the south-eastern coastline of Curaçao. 

Regularly, our Ocean Encounters Dive Team goes out with our divers ever since, to remove as many Lionfish as possible from our reefs. The program has been and continues being a great success for divers and the underwater environment here in Curaçao.

Lionfish in Curacao