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SDI equivalent to PADI Lionfish hunter?

Discussion in 'SDI/TDI/ERDI' started by Just phil, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. Just phil

    Just phil Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ontario, Canada
    22
    10
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    Hi all,

    I was recently in the Caribbean and noticed a PADI specialty course offered, seemingly at every dive shop, for Lionfish hunting. I asked about it, it's a fully accredited course with a 2 dive requirement.
    I think it's a great idea! The more divers hunting them correctly the better. I was disappointed that there was only one restaurant on the entire island offering it as a meal...

    Just wondering if SDI offers an equivalent course?

    Phil
     
  2. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    7,818
    5,472
    113
    That is a "Distinctive Specialty," not written by PADI, but rather by individual instructors. There are LOTS of Distinctive Specialties. Most are written by an individual, but all are vetted by PADI as being worthy of getting "accredited." There are a few that get distributed and taught by many places, but many are fiercely protected by the authors as being their personal property. The Lionfish Hunter Distrinctive Specialty was written locally on Bonaire, is OK'ed by STINAPA, and is offered by several dive shops.

    There could be an equivalent under SDI if anybody cared to write one, but as of now I am not aware of one. As far as I know, it is only Bonaire that has this particular course. PADI Lionfish Hunter

    Similar distinctive specialties with similar names are elsewhere....Lionfish Culler, Lionfish Hunting, etc. The Project AWARE Distinctive Specialty "Invasive Lionfish Tracker" is NOT supposed to use any kind of killing tool, but rather is about netting and euthanizing the lionfish. This is slow, difficult (handling two nets underwater), inefficient, and not up-to-the-task of widespread lionfish removal. I suppose it make the squeamish feel better, however.
     
    Just phil likes this.
  3. ScubaSteve_SoCal

    ScubaSteve_SoCal Course Director

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    23
    3
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    SDI does have a Lionfish Awareness specialty. Not specifically focused on hunting, though an instructor could certainly add that if they were familiar.
     
  4. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    25,635
    17,069
    113
    Have you checked with SDI-affiliated dive shops in the Caribbean?
     
  5. northernone

    northernone Great White Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Currently: Cozumel, from Canada
    3,793
    3,390
    113
  6. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

    707
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    In The Cayman Islands it is an interesting situation. At first you had to be a working DM who took the class with the DOE (which we did). However the big wrinkle came about the spears. Only Caymanians have the right to spearfish. The DOE had a limited number of spears (not nearly enough) to give out to licensed cullers, so even with the license you may not have been able to spear. You are not "allowed" to import fishing spears with out special licensing which is very limited. Of course the original numbered spears may have long since disappeared as no one handed them back when they left the island. There are many who have made their own and there are some boats that take guests out culling. At first guests were spotters. Now many actually bring spears which are supposed to be illegal but it doesn't seem to be enforced. However if the marine police decide to enforce the rules, there are heavy fines for everyone involved. I personally think the rules are antiquated and should change as their are really not that many Caymanian DM's but many Caymanian fishermen who are losing out by this idea of keeping spearfishing as part of their "inherited" rights. I also think this whole culture of having regulations that are not enforced is counterproductive. Why should individuals have to follow any rules if the enforcement seems to be pick and choose or just picking the right day. All that said our waters seem to have less and less and nature seems to be taking control of the situation which is more than we can do. I love to see lionfish on the menu, but lately here there are not enough for restaurants to be able to maintain supply so most of what you get now is actually imported and not fresh catch. I would also add that while there are many great divers there are many awful divers (like drivers). Before I let anyone have a spear in the water I would like to know their skill set. I actually include myself in that group. I carry the bucket, not spear as I prefer not to damage an animal that I don't think I can kill off cleanly Same could be said about cameras -- mine are not world class!
     
  7. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    25,635
    17,069
    113
    I would be interested in seeing the evidence of this. How exactly is nature taking control?

    That is a legitimate question. I just finished 33 dives (over 35 hours) in Palau, in the heart of the western Pacific. That is the natural home of the lionfish. In those 35 hours of diving, I saw exactly two very small lionfish. I see more than that on an average dive in Florida, where they are invasive.

    What is the difference? What is controlling them in that region? The only thing that comes to my mind is that in Palau, groupers are protected, and you absolutely do not see it on the menu. I saw MANY large (2-4 feet) groupers on those dives.
     
  8. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

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    There has been talk lately about many lionfish being found dead and with ulcerations in their gut/stomach. To be very frank with you I don't know the particulars but I know guys who made lots of spare change going culling (particularly on the EE) and they were complaining about the dwindling numbers. I can say that we often and for years now have seen big ones on the night dives off Macabuca and in the last couple of months have seen maybe one but mostly none. We were seeing several a night. Perhaps also some of our local fish are actually hunting them now. There have been two documented events involving morays. One is a video of a moray actually chasing a lionfish to the surface and another one hunting one in the reef. Previously they would only take them when they were wounded. Same with sharks and others. The DOE did an interesting visual with fish in tanks where the inhabitants would not eat something that was not familiar. As they are originally from the Pacific the predators knew them. In the Atlantic they do/did not.
     
  9. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
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    5,472
    113
    Can you provide a link/citation?
     
  10. Rred

    Rred Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: In a safe place
    1,058
    441
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    Wow, a specialty course in lionfish hunting?!

    It took me years to learn what lionfish scat looked like, so I could track them across the reefs instead of being stuck with building a camouflaged stand and waiting for them to wander by. And now they've got a two dive course where you can learn all of that in a weekend.

    Go figure.
     

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