How many lionfish have I caught?



Me on the bow of our boat with a container full of lionfish.

So far I have caught a grand total of 10,360 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 2012 =    743
  • To 1st July 2013 =    463   (The year someone stole my engine, hence the numbers went down).
  • To 1st July 2014 = 2,218
  • To 1st July 2015 = 2,192
  • To 1st July 2016 = 2,039
  • To 1st July 2017  = 1,636
  • To 1st July 2018 =    581

How many lionfish have I caught?

The 581 lionfish caught in the year so far to 1st July 2018 were split as follows:

  • 235 in July 2017.
  • 90 in August 2017.
  • 185 in September 2017.
  • 53 in October 2017.
  • 13 in November 2017.
  • 5 in December 2017.

My best ever total on one dive was 54 lionfish. On two dives it was 82 lionfish and on three dives it was 98 lionfish. The highest poundage I ever caught was the day I caught 98 lionfish, they weighed a mighty 84 pounds. And my best monthly total was 402 lionfish in July 2016.

We have found that over the years the lionfish we saw on average did get bigger and bigger, however, this did change a few years ago. We now seem to see less small and large individuals, with the majority now being medium size. 2017 though has seen a big change in the number of lionfish we are seeing. We are seeing far fewer than previous years, but so far we do not know why??? When we know the reason for sure I’ll let you know.

Our Department Of Environment (DOE) asks us each month to report to them when we catch lionfish. For each dive where we catch lionfish, the DOE wants to know the date, the dive site, the number of lionfish caught and their size, as follows:

  • Small lionfish are less than 6 inches long.
  • Medium lionfish are between 6 and 12 inches long.
  • Large lionfish are over 12 inches long.

Of the 5 lionfish I caught in December, their sizes were as follows:

  1. 0were small.
  2. 4 were medium.
  3. 1 were large.

The way our DOE measure the lionfish is a little different to the way they are measured for the official country and world records. The Cayman DOE measure the lionfish, excluding the tail, while the official island and world records measure the WHOLE fish.

And finally, if you want to catch lots of lionfish like me then it helps to have good air consumption. If you can improve your air consumption on each dive then you’ll get better value for money AND have more time to catch more lionfish. So why not buy my pdf ebook Save Your Breath which highlights dozens of ways to improve your air consumption – click on the link here for Save Your Breath and read all about it.

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
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2 Responses to How many lionfish have I caught?

  1. Sara Curry says:

    Great website and information!! Always a pleasure to dive with you at Tortuga Divers!!

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