Lionfish have become an apex predator in some Southern coastal regions of the United States. Native to the Indo-Pacific region, these venomous carnivores have established themselves as an invasive species along the southeast coast of the U.S., the Caribbean and in parts of the Gulf of Mexico. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), experts suggest that people have been dumping unwanted lionfish from domestic aquariums into the Atlantic Ocean for 25 years or more. Because they are not indigenous to the Atlantic, they have no natural predators in that region have become are a huge threat to coral reefs and other marine ecosystems. These predators feed on small crustaceans and fish, including the offspring of commercial fish species such as grouper and snapper.
Unfortunately, NOAA researchers have concluded that invasive lionfish populations will continue to grow exponentially and cannot be eradicated using conventional methods as marine invaders are almost impossible to eliminate once they have established themselves in an area.
But you know what they say… if you can’t beat it, eat it.
One way people are combating rising lionfish populations is by putting them on their dinner plates. Spearfishing is a more common means of eradicating this invasive species, but the fisherman in the video below implemented a creative way to harvest these detestable, yet delectable, fish — shooting them underwater.
According to Fox13 news, Courtland Hunt of Bradenton, Florida, used a modified Glock 9mm firearm and lead-free/non-toxic ammunition during a fishing trip 30 miles off the coast of Anna Maria Island. The article reported that Hunt and his buddies spent six months perfecting their deep-water weapon, adding a suppressor to it to make it quieter.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) began an investigation because, while shooting lionfish isn’t an issue, shooting any type of fish isn’t allowed in state and federal waters. Luckily for Hunt and his crew, they weren’t within nine miles of shore. The investigation was deferred to the feds who came back and said they weren’t breaking any laws.
Watch the video for yourself and let us know what you think in the comment section!