A lion fish

The Fisheries Division has confirmed the presence of the lion fish, an invasive alien species, in Dominica’s marine environment.

The lion fish, which originates from the South Pacific, may have gotten to the Caribbean through the aquarium trade – “persons purchasing those things and transporting them,” according to fisheries officer Norman Norris. He said the lionfish can have a devastating impact on Dominica’s fishing industry and its  sting can affect humans.

“It has a very very powerful diet … It really has few known predators so that means not many fish eat that at all. Once it enters our eco-system, its very likely irreversible,” he said Tuesday.

Norris described the lion fish as maroon or red in color with white strips on its body, but said its colours can vary depending on its age.

The Fisheries Division together with the Dominica Watersports Association and the REEF Environmental Education Foundation are meeting with persons in the diving and fishing industry to discuss how to control the lion fish population in Dominica.

After meeting with some fishers, Norris has disclosed that the lion fish has been seen in three areas here.

The spines of the lionfish contain venom which when penetrated through human flesh through sting, can cause intense pain and swelling to the affected area, and can also result in abdominal cramps, chills and seizures according to Norris.