“Lionfish don’t wear wetsuits. We are lionfish. Therefore, we don’t wear wetsuits,” the team established while preparing tanks for an underwater lionfish counting excursion. Nobody wore the binding suits that day except for Tarzan (Avery) and Black Fingers (Jessica). An epic series of three dives were ahead of us. After deploying the experimental clod card (what we use to measure currents), we set out, growing stronger as a team and improving our skills in lionfish surveying. A total of eight lionfish were counted, ranging in sizes from seven to twenty two centimeters. We then transitioned onto land for the next day. We went to a local farmer’s market in Rock Sound to inform locals about lionfish and encourage them to try a sample of our delicious ceviche, made with fresh lionfish, tomatoes, peppers, and lime juice. At first, people were hesitant to eat the lionfish, assuming that they are poisonous. We quickly used our newfound knowledge of the species to correct that thought, showing them that the scrumptious fish only has venom in its spines, and once those spines are removed, it is just like any other fish. As a team, we decided that this is also an issue, and we need to spend more time informing the locals on how good this harmful species is to eat and how important it is to help remove it from the reefs.

~Captain Cutch and Holly Pants