The lionfish is native to the tropical Indo-Pacific region, but this fish – also known as Dragon fish or Turkey fish – has now invaded the warmer coral regions of the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

To combat the problem around Bermuda, 31 volunteers have been issued special licenses by the Ministry of the Environment and Sports to engage in spear fishing of lionfish within the one mile limit that is legislated for spear fishing activities, The Royal Gazette reports.

The Lionfish constitutes a real threat to Bermuda’s reef ecosystem and commercial fishery. It is incumbent on us in Bermuda to do all we can to protect our marine ecosystem. In fact, even though this problem is relatively new to Bermuda, we are already being hailed by other countries and international organisations as an example of proactive management of Lionfish.” minister of the Environment Elvin James said to The Royal Gazette.

Several species of fish the family Scorpaenidae are known as lionfish, but the species causing trouble around Bermuda is Pterois volitans. It is believed to have been introduced to the ecosystem by saltwater aquarists in Florida. In order to better understand Pterois volitans and the effect it might have as an invasive species, the Department of Conservation Services will be collecting Lionfish from local waters and study them.

If you see a lionfish in the waters around Bermuda, contact the Marine Conservation Officer at 293 4464 extension 146 or email lionfish@gov.bm. The Marine Conservation Officer wish to know date, location and depth, and the approximate length of the fish (from snout to tail tip). The Marine Conservation Officer might need to contact you for further questions, so leave a phone number or email address.

Don’t try to catch the fish, because lionfish can give you a venomous sting with its fins. If you’re stung by a lionfish, seek medical attention right away. The sting is really painful.

You can read the full article in The Royal Gazette, Bermuda’s only daily newspaper.

http://www.royalgazette.com/siftology.royalgazette/Article/article.jsp?articleId=7d85e3330030009&sectionId=60