Nature Foundation catches lionfish in Mullet Bay

POSTED: 05/3/11 11:50 AM

St. Maarten – In its continued efforts to keep bathing areas clear of the venomous lionfish, divers of the St. Maarten Nature Foundation removed a specimen from very shallow water at Mullet Bay Beach on the Saturday before Easter. The lionfish was caught in approximately 3 meters of water along the west side of the beach.
“We received reports both from a private citizen and from the Coastguard regarding the presence of the fish in the water and our divers started looking for it the previous Thursday until it was found on Saturday. It was very important for us that we removed the specimen before the Easter holidays when large numbers of people use the beach so we were very happy when we were finally able to capture it on Saturday,” said Tadzio Bervoets of the Nature Foundation.

Follow up sweeps early on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday on Mullet Bay erevekealed no additional lionfish in the area.

Through a donation from the St. Maarten Time Share Association beach facilities have been provided with lionfish specific first aid kits in the event a bather is stung. If a sting does occur heat should be applied to the wound and medical attention should be sought immediately. The captured specimen was dissected and analyzed and meat samples will be sent for testing in order to determine toxin levels.

Lionfish are an invasive species that were first reported on St. Maarten on July 15 of last year. Since then there have been a steady increase in sightings and reports. Lionfish are voracious predators that threaten local fish stock and pose a health risk to humans through their dangerous sting. The Nature Foundation is continuing its efforts to control the lionfish population. If a lionfish is spotted or caught please contact the Foundation at 544 42 67 or 527 04 90.

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