About Nigel Coles

Hi my name is Nigel Coles. I used to live in Bristol, England but after a change in direction we moved overseas to work in the scuba diving industry. After a time in Thailand, for the last 8 years I have been living with my wife Deby, in the East End of Grand Cayman, The Cayman Islands. I’m a dive instructor, working for Tortuga Divers, part of the Red Sail group. I spend my day on dive boats, training students and taking our guests on dive trips. It’s a hard life but someone has to do it

How many lionfish have I caught?

  So far I have caught a grand total of 10,104 lionfish Lionfish came to Grand Cayman in 2009 and we spotted our first one here in September of that year. So how many lionfish have I caught in each of my work permit years? I have caught: To 1st July 2010 =      44  (We didn’t start recording our kills until June 2010). To 1st July 2011 =    444 To 1st July … Continue reading

Lionfish reproduction

Lionfish reproduction

Lionfish Reproduction Lionfish truly are an amazing invasive species. In their Pacific home waters over thousands of years their numbers have been kept under control as part of the natural balance of nature on the reef. However, in the Atlantic and Caribbean it is lionfish reproduction that is one of the main reasons why lionfish are taking over. In the Caribbean in particular they breed all year around and they are sexually mature after just … Continue reading

Are lionfish poisonous?

Are lionfish poisonous?

Are lionfish poisonous? This is a very easy question to answer. The answer is NO, lionfish are not poisonous. A poison is something that must be either breathed in, eaten, swallowed or absorbed. So if lionfish are not poisonous – what are they? They are venomous. Venom is a form of toxin secreted by an animal for the purpose of causing harm to another. Venom must be injected into the other animal by spines (lionfish), … Continue reading

Lionfish hunting. My top 15 hunting tips

Top 15 lionfish hunting tips

I have been catching lionfish since 2009. I do this from dive boats and some shore diving. The majority of the time I use air (sometimes Enriched Air) and I mainly only dive to approximately 60 feet where the mini wall is here in Cayman. Having caught over 10,000 lionfish, these are my top 15 tips for catching lionfish with a pole spear. Lionfish hunting. My top 15 hunting tips SAFETY FIRST.  Go with a buddy … Continue reading

Do sharks eat lionfish? They do now!

Reef sharks may be catching on to hunting lionfish

Simon Morley a local diver and photographer in Grand Cayman went on a dive this week on the East End of Grand Cayman with Tortuga Divers to the deep wall site “Split Rock”. This is a beautiful site where a number of Grey Caribbean reef sharks are regularly spotted. Simon took this photo just seconds after a lionfish swam by and was snatched up by one of the sharks. “From what I saw of the … Continue reading

Lionfish stings – first aid and treatment

It is said by those who know personally, that it really is not very nice at all to be stung by a lionfish. I have seen a number of my colleagues get stung and they were in agony. Their faces were contorted in pain. The lionfish venom itself is contained in glandular tissues that are located in the grooves of the spines. As the spine enters a victim the sheaf is pushed back which allows … Continue reading

Lionfish invasion. How they took over the Caribbean and beyond

Lionfish invasion. How they took over the Caribbean and beyond

I live in Grand Cayman (The Cayman Islands) and we spotted our first lionfish on East End where I live in September 2009. 24 years prior to that in 1985 the first lionfish was spotted off of Dania Beach in Florida. There are 3 often-told stories or theories of how lionfish found their way into the waters around Florida, which are as follows: Deliberate release of lionfish by owners from their fish tanks at home. … Continue reading

How to make a lionfish container

How to make a lionfish container

  Before the zookeeper and commercially made lionfish containers came onto the market, we all started by making our own. If you have money to spend you cannot beat the zookeeper, but if you have more time on your hands than money then here is my step by step on how to make a lionfish container. Important features of a good lionfish container Puncture proof Strong and sturdy One way entry for lionfish, escape proof … Continue reading

Restaurants that serve lionfish in Grand Cayman (East End & North Side)

Restaurants that serve lionfish in Grand Cayman

Lionfish arrived in Grand Cayman in 2009 and it did not take long for local restaurants to start serving this sustainable choice of fish on their menus. That’s because lionfish are absolutely delicious to eat. The white flaky meat is mild, delicate, tender and buttery. Restaurants love to have lionfish on their menu.  It’s abundantly available, and fresh off the divers spear TODAY. No need for ordering from overseas, or ordering it in big frozen packs, … Continue reading

Are lionfish safe to eat?

Are lionfish safe to eat? Cleaning the day's catch on the dock after our lionfish hunt.

On a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon when I return to the Morritts dock from the twice-weekly lionfish hunt on our work dive boat (Tortuga Divers), tourists regularly find me on the dock sorting out the afternoons catch. They normally ask me these 3 questions in this order: What type of fish are those? Are lionfish safe to eat? Can I buy some? So, are lionfish safe to eat? Well the answer to the question “Are … Continue reading