Will I see a lionfish during a Roatan dive?
Your chances of seeing a lionfish during a Roatan dive are very high. Fascinating, beautiful, venomous, and destructive are all words often used to describe the lionfish. While lionfish are a species native to the Indo-Pacific, their presence is prominent along the Southeast coast of the United States, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, their presence is so prominent, that they are known as an invasive species of the Atlantic.
Due to the fact that lionfish are not native to the Atlantic, they can wreak havoc on native plants and animals, causing extinction and reducing biodiversity. Lionfish are carnivorous creatures that eat native fish, crustaceans, and commercial species like grouper and snapper. In fact, lionfish will eat almost anything that will fit into their mouth, and are decimating species that allow coral to thrive. Experts believe that high numbers of lionfish are the result of owners releasing unwanted lionfish from aquariums into the ocean for over 25 years. Because lionfish have few natural predators in the Atlantic, it is predicted that their numbers will only continue to grow.
Will a lionfish harm me during Roatan dive trips?
The red and white stripes and sharp spines of a lionfish should be a key indication to stay away. Lionfish are considered venomous, but not poisonous. They carry venom in their spines that can cause pain if it gets injected into the bloodstream. However, there is no poison in the meat of a lionfish, and they are completely harmless if eaten.
Lionfish use their venomous spines defensively, but not offensively. There is little evidence of unwarranted aggression towards divers during a Roatan dive. Lionfish use their spines to prevent predators from approaching them. If you avoid approaching a lionfish in an aggressive way, they won’t cause you any harm. Many times, divers swim with large groups of lionfish without any issue at all.
Staying safe during a Roatan dive vacation
During a Roatan dive, be sure to always be aware of your surroundings. Simply paying attention to what’s around you will keep you 100% safe from a lionfish. Be sure that your entire diving group is aware of the capabilities of a lionfish. Also, be informed of what to do if you spot one. If on the off chance of a prick, soaking the sting in hot water right away will break down the protein based venom and reduce the pain.
Lucky for you if you spot and spear a lionfish during your Roatan dive trips- many consider them a delicacy and you’d be doing the ecosystem a huge favor. Also, they’re absolutely stunning to see.
If you’re interested in helping control the spread of the lionfish, many suggest bringing attention to the issue. Also, don’t be afraid to order it when you see it on the menu, and encourage others to order it as well. If lionfish become a staple at seafood restaurants, then we can begin to reverse the damage that’s been done.
If you’re interested in diving, check out the affordable Roatan diving packages that our Roatan dive resort, Reef House Lodge, has to offer.