Expedition update: Curacao

The first six shallow reef transects have now been completed. First impressions of the area are mixed, we've seen some absolutely stunning reefs however others appear to be struggling. We observed quite an amount of litter in the water in places and lost count of the number of infamous lionfish that we passed during our transects. The invasive red lionfish (Pterois Volitans) are native to the Indo-Pacific region but have been spreading across the Caribbean since their introduction to the waters of Southeast Florida in the early 1990s. Lionfish were first sighted in Curacao in 2009 and have spread around the island in less than 6 months. Their poisonous spikes mean that they have few predators, and their primary predators, groupers and sharks, are in such low numbers that lionfish are able to thrive here virtually undisturbed. Spearfishing is the main approach to control local numbers and lionfish now appear on the menu of local restaurants. Despite their poisonous spikes they are not only edible but taste great (thankfully), especially prepared the local way with baked banana (bokoba), pika (spicy pickled onions) and tomato salsa.