Source of Lionfish Invasion

May 17th, 2010

Hurricane Andrew to blame???  Well maybe or maybe not.  Walter Courtenay, fisheries biologist and Professor Emeritus at Florida Atlantic University, published an account (in 1995) of 6-8 lionfish being spotted in Biscayne Bay after a bay-side aquarium broke during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. 

However, there have been earlier reports:

  1. The late Richard Nielsen, golden crab fisherman extraordinaire, and a good friend, found one in 1985 fishing off Dania, Florida according to his wife, Teri Nielsen.  This fish was mounted and was given away by Richard.  If anyone knows where this lionfish is, please contact me or Teri.
  2. During an April 8th presentation to The Rotary Club of Freeport, arranged by my father – Sonny Waugh, Mr. Caleb Hepburn recounted a long lost encounter with a lionfish.  It was in the 1930s on Cat Island when his brother saw a lionfish in a conch crawl.

If any of you recall or have heard stories of earlier encounters or sightings, please let me know.  Such information will help us better understand the origin of the lionfish invasion.

Over 100 attend SafeSpear Product Launch

April 19th, 2010

The Bahamas National Trust hosted a program to introduce SafeSpear on Wednesday, April 14, 2010.  The program began at 6:30 pm at the Rand Nature Centre.  Plans for the evening included:

  1. A welcome table with information and a display of our products.  Lisa Waugh (Vice-President, SafeSpear, LLC) answered questions, distributed printed materials, and took orders for spears and kits. 
  2. Presentation– Gregg Waugh (President, SafeSpear, LLC) discussed lionfish (the invasion and lionfish biology) and SafeSpear’s products/solution to the lionfish invasion.  After the presentation, the floor was open for questions.  After the questions, wine & cheese was served and Gregg conducted demonstrations. 
  3. Demonstration– Gregg demonstrated the SafeSpear Kit and how to remove venomous spines with the lionfish gripper and clippers while wearing lionfish gloves for protection to make this as safe as possible.  Gregg also demonstrated how to fillet and prepare whole lionfish for cooking.
  4. Cooking lionfish– chefs demonstrated how easy it is to cook lionfish.  Everyone had a chance to taste lionfish!

The lionfish sushi and fried lionfish were delicious and quickly disappeared.  Everyone had a great time and learned how to harvest and eat lionfish in the safest manner possible.  The following video includes comments from those eating lionfish.  Please let us know if you have eaten lionfish and what is your favorite recipe.

Lionfish harvesting video; Freeport, Bahamas.  Copy and paste into your internet browser: