Invasive lion fish discovered in Dominican waters

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.

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  1. Conserv
    February 18, 2011

    Thanks for the info.

    I recommend you put that in formal writing and mail it to Fisheries, Environmental Coordinating Unit, the Permanent Secretary, and the Minister for those Ministries.

    You can send it to the local newspapers as well.

    Thanks again

  2. knows about this since 2008
    February 2, 2011

    since in 2008 i read about this fish during summer this fish i pour danger i read that it eats everything thing in its way i hope my family stay away from the water in the b.v.i as will i . i pray this fish just vanish cuz wat i read on msn that day sigh that fish is a mixed breed from a shark i think humans who made it i think cuz its like a shark this fish also eat coral i mean everythign so plz ppl just stay away from the water the ppl who was tryin to get most of that fish couldnt i jus knew it and the was even sayin that its in the wrong sea cuz it will mess up everythin in the other sea but i just know they couldnt lord help us

    • knows about this since 2008
      February 2, 2011

      oh and dont eat lol

  3. Red-Antz
    January 26, 2011
  4. no name
    January 26, 2011

    why u all did not say where were they found?

    • Disclaimer
      January 27, 2011

      Possie and somewhere they said.

  5. Sisserou
    January 26, 2011

    This invasive species of fish has been discovered in the waters in the Virgin Islands and the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources has been doing a great job in trying to contain if not eradicate the species. I suggest that the Fisheries Division or the appropriate body contact their counterpart in the Virgin Islands to learn what has been done to address that problem. Maybe D/Ca can learn from the Virgin Islands.

    • Eco
      February 18, 2011

      Dear Sisserou,

      Your findings sound interesting. Perhaps you should write to Fisheries and other stake holders suggesting an environmental solution to the lion fish.

      I appreciate your contribution.

  6. United Weird Politicians (UWP)
    January 26, 2011

    This dangerous type was brought here by WUP, Eddo, Provost and Rhon. They are the secret behind the plan to kill Eddo

    • afraid
      January 26, 2011

      stupid cant comment on what u read no matter how best they try to say it maybe u cant even read it properly

  7. pat
    January 26, 2011

    there are different species of this lion fish please read about it. the fisheris division did read about it but is presenting information on their own.

  8. AHHA???
    January 26, 2011


    • smh
      January 26, 2011

      Looks like Skerrit brings everything..Soon allu will say skerrit that bring Aids too

    • sadden
      January 26, 2011

      he do right let it eat your a====

      • mr.nobody
        February 7, 2011

        wat u was about to say dere.. plzz stop using these bad words.. i thought dominicans were friendly ppl

    • jhah Fond Cole
      January 26, 2011

      Stop being so dam ignorant.. Skerrit that bring what…. STUPESS

    • 7.5
      January 26, 2011

      you have to be a nincompoop to say such a silly thing, come on people be real, there are other people reading these vague comments..

      • Annie Get Your Gun
        January 27, 2011


        • AHHA???
          January 27, 2011

          hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i was actually laughing when send this,,.. you people make my day!!

  9. sadden
    January 26, 2011

    Something in Dominica must be very sweet and worth coming to cause a couple weeks ago some strange bird was spotted at melville hall now lion fish come, haitians come, chinese come,venezuelans come, cubans come, Santo Dominigans come etc and i wonder why all Dominicans a leaving? hummm Maybe i should come back!!!! GOOD FOR YOU LION FISH ENJOY OUR WATERS

    • Gwo Bek
      January 26, 2011

      magway sa…a leaving?

      • R u kidding me?
        January 26, 2011


    • no nonsense
      January 26, 2011

      the weird bird was an eagle trying to take care of it babies and the lion fish is a down fall but the Haitians and others are human being so deal with it .

  10. Disclaimer
    January 26, 2011

    What are the names of the areas that they have been spotted? Does that mean that it’s not safe to go to the beach? Please tell us. Get this problem dealt with.Plus they’re a threat to our fish as well..

  11. OK
    January 26, 2011

    I remember late last year Marpin Had a report on this. An expert spoke and did predict it would be in Dominica by January. The information he gave about this fish was scary. Something about it has eggs that float on the currents and produced some 30 thousand eggs monthly. I mean that is a lot.

  12. da don ymous
    January 26, 2011

    the real problem is that after three months lion fish turn to sea lions and become very aggresive then they start to attack humans, dogs and fishing boats. if you see a lion fish please do not try to pet him. lion fish are very much fond of kfc chicken and i-roc subways so please refrain from going in the water with these type of foods as you would become a natural target. all this is very true because i would never tell a lie on fish, whether its lion fish balaw, or dowad

    • hmm
      January 26, 2011

      lol you need to do stand up

    • ...
      January 26, 2011


    • sadden
      January 26, 2011


    • jhah Fond Cole
      January 26, 2011

      Boy look jokes.. heheheh

    • R u kidding me?
      January 26, 2011


    • wehh bonjayy
      January 26, 2011


      • Anonymous
        January 26, 2011

        i like dat one…………………..u crack me up

    • for real?
      January 26, 2011

      L M A O

      • Roseau king
        January 26, 2011

        dat ting eating private parts too if it smelling pee pee so bath before you go beach

    • chemist
      January 26, 2011

      LMAO..hahaha ..only my fellow Dominicans….thanks for the laugh….I canna stop laughing…ahahahahaha

  13. reasoning
    January 26, 2011
  14. William McLawrence
    January 26, 2011

    The discovery of the Lion fish (Pterois volitans) in our waters must be cause for concern among our local fishing communities and the dive and watersports operators.

    The Lion fish is a coral reef fish from the tropical waters of the South Pacific and Indian Oceans and now thrive in the Western Atlantic Ocean. The most probable explanation for their arrival is via the acquarium trade. The Lion fish is a nocturnal species and moves to deeper waters at night to forage. The species is relatively quick to adapt to novel prey types. Preliminary genetic studies from North Carolina suggest that as little as three females could be responsible for an entire population.

    The Lion fish was first seen in North Carolina, USA iin 1985 and has since spread to Bermuda in 2001, Bahamas in 2004, …Guadeloupe in 2010 and Dominica 2011. They are spread all over the Northern Caribbean and are and are considered efficient canivores that feed on a wide variety of smaller fishes, shrimps and crabs, out-competing native species. They also have the potential to decrease the abundance of ecologically important species such as Parrot fish and other herbivorous fishes that keep seaweeds and macro algae from overgrowing corals. The potential for loss to commercial fishers and reef-based tourism (dive and watersports) is severe. The Lion fish venomous spines are also a serious threat to human health.

    Lion fish venomous dorsal, anal and pelvic spines make them almost immune to predators. Current options to manage Lion fish threat are limited. They are being removed individually at key locations through training and licensing of dive professionals to respond to sightings. Groupers, a known predator of the Lion fish, is being considered as part of the control solutions. A few Lion fish have been found in the stomachs of native groupers in the Bahamas. Other management solutions include detection and response, medical issues, collection and handling techniques and monitoring and assessment protocols.

    It has also been discovered that the flesh of the Lion fish is edible…

  15. fish girl
    January 26, 2011

    how safe are they to eat? if they contain venom is there any special precautions to take in preparing them?

    • Common
      January 26, 2011

      They Are safe to eat when prepared correctly…There is actually a cookbook detailing just their preparation being released or maybe it was already released either this year or last year….Thats nature for you…Might as well eat em

  16. Soldier101
    January 26, 2011

    that Not Nice @ all!!!!! Jah Help us…………….

  17. shnooks
    January 26, 2011

    Lion fish have been in Dominica’s waters for over 40 years. I am speaking from personal experiece. I was a teenager and saw two of them while spearfishing about 100 feet off shore from the NewTown savannah . I noticed them when i moved a fish pot to get a closer look. They were so unusual and scary looking that i immediately got out of the water and related my exprience to some NewTown fishermen.

    • Coowess
      January 26, 2011

      Eeeeeek wrong.

      And I’ve seen a few my self overseas they arnt that big nor scary looking plus humans are their predators they swim away from us. U saw sumn else bossman. Catch them to eat that can cut down as well or get other known fishes which eat them but which are safe for our waters to hunt them

      • jodi
        January 26, 2011

        this one is not to be confused with the local spiecies “vinquatheure”24h fish in patois. as lawrence said earlier this one is from the Pacific. residing in martinique, i know the the french authorities were worried as it was observed in guadeloupe last year and they are actually looking for solutions to control it. accordding to reports here it was accidentally released when the walls of an aquarium in florida broke! it looks beautiful but its’ venum is very dangerous but u can cook it like the “vinquatheure”24h fish.

  18. FIsherman
    January 26, 2011

    Thanks for the heads up on this DNO

  19. Dr.No
    January 26, 2011


  20. Fisherman
    January 26, 2011

    Oh Boy! More bad news for Dominica. I wonder who among our leaders will be accused this time around.

    • oh boy
      January 26, 2011

      I back fisher man on this one, cuz every living thing that happens is governement

    • Master Bait
      January 26, 2011

      Lol. Yeah I guess that they will pick on the Minister of Fisheries this time. Skerrit deserves a break.

      January 26, 2011


    • Lizavier4Jesus
      January 26, 2011

      You guys are making me laugh!

      • lisa dodds
        January 26, 2011

        lol… i like the way we have turned this political drama of dominica into comedy.

        • agre student dsc
          February 24, 2011

          dominicans please the lionfish invation is no joking matter sooner or latter we may have no fishes in the sea it is a preditor dont 4 get that stop make stupid jokes bout people bringing it no one can actually touch it a specialy one who is no trained lol

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