Originally posted on www.reef.org/blogs/lad

Lionfish in Curacao have a rough week ahead of them.

Sunday, aspiring lionfish hunters and ocean enthusiasts from around the world arrived in Curacao, an island in the Southern Caribbean off the coast of VenezuelaThey will spend the next week removing lionfish, gathering data, and learning as much as they can about the invasive predator.

The trip, led by Lad Akins and Peter Hughes of REEF, is in its second year. In 2013, 673 lionfish were removed in just five days of diving. The project documents the establishment and consequences of lionfish as part of REEF’s ongoing effort to minimize the invasive predator’s impact on native fish populations.

Lionfish have been present in Curacao since 2009, almost 25 years after they were introduced off the coast of South Florida in 1985. Originally from the Indo-Pacific region, lionfish are now established in the Western Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean, and are considered one of the top threats to our native reef ecosystem. For more information about lionfish, check out our upcoming blog post, or visit REEF's Lionfish Resources page.

Trip participants include both rookie and seasoned lionfish hunters. All participants have the opportunity to be trained in lionfish collection and dissections of specimens to document prey, all while hosted by the gorgeous Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club. The trip is generously supported by Go West Diving, Insel Air, and the Curacao Tourist Board. 

We will be documenting the trip with blog posts, photographs, and videos. Check back daily for updates on the trip and other articles about lionfish, Curacao, and more. You can also follow along on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #REEFcuracao, or on Facebook at REEF Invasive Lionfish Program