Bermuda Lionfish Task Force Donates To BZS

June 24, 2019

The Bermuda Zoological Society [BZS] announced today that the Bermuda Lionfish Task Force [BLTF] has sponsored the Lionfish exhibit at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo’s [BAMZ].

“In 2000, the lionfish was first discovered in Bermuda in a tide pool at Devonshire Bay and kept in a private aquarium. Entered into the Agricultural Exhibition in 2001, it was seized by Fisheries and taken to the Aquarium,” BZS explained.

“It is believed this invasive species from the Pacific was introduced into the Atlantic in the late 1980s by local aquariums or fish hobbyists in Florida. Lionfish have now spread throughout the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, South America, Bermuda, and as far north as Massachusetts. As lionfish have few natural predators in the Atlantic, there is a very real threat they will deplete the population of juvenile and small reef fish in our waters.

Bermuda Lionfish Task Force Donates To BZS June 2019 (1)

“The concern of long-term impacts on the Bermuda fish population led BAMZ to undertake efforts to raise awareness of the threat of lionfish to our reefs. A 3-day international lionfish conference was held at BAMZ in the BZS education classrooms in 2009 so that a plan could be developed with the help of international experts.

“From this meeting the Bermuda Lionfish Task Force was formed; their mission is to raise public awareness of the lionfish invasion in Bermuda and to coordinate and support all activities to control lionfish population growth, thus reducing any negative impacts of the lionfish on our coral reefs, for the benefit of all Bermudians.”

Co-Chairmen of the BLTF, Paul Van Pelt and Kirk Kitson state, “The Bermuda Lionfish Task Force is very pleased to sponsor the lionfish exhibit at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, and thereby provide long term support for the Bermuda Zoological Society’s youth education programmes.

“BZS is well equipped to deliver outstanding educational experiences to thousands of Bermuda’s children each year through their Schools Programme and the Kids on the Reef Programme.

“We believe that teaching Bermuda’s youth about the precious marine resources surrounding our island, together with the opportunity to experience their beauty first hand, is the best way to increase stewardship of these resources and improve understanding of the threats they face. Education of the younger generation is one of our biggest priorities because they are the environmental leaders of tomorrow.”

Bermuda Lionfish Task Force Donates To BZS June 2019 (2)

“Keeping the Bermudian public aware of the dangers this ambush predator brings to our delicate marine eco-system is an important conservation message, and education is the main mission of the BZS”, said Colin Brown, BZS President.

“We are appreciative of the support from the BLTF, and the BZS will continue to do its part to inspire appreciation and care of island environments.”

To learn more about the BLTF, please visit

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Comments (8)

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  1. sage says:

    I watched an old video on this site, of 1950′s or earlier Bermuda that showed a mature lionfish in a tank at the Bermuda Aquarium. I know Louis Mowbray personally collected Galapagos tortoises and penguins on a sailing expedition in 1933 (and was the first to breed them) and had made “countless trips overseas to collect fish to exhibit…” is it possible lionfish got here this way? If I remember correctly the aquarium takes in water from Harrington Sound and it drains back into it where eggs or small babies could escape.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Admittedly , the theory of when and how the lionfish arrived here is intriguing . I’m not sure if you’re talking about the same video but some time back there was a feature here on Bernews of old Bermuda holiday home movies that had been found and one of them appeared to be from a snorkeling or diving trip that showed a mature lionfish on the reefs . At least the way I saw it , it appeared to be on the reefs and not at the aquarium , and that video clip was dated to sometime in the 1960s I believe. What I can’t understand is if they’ve been here since way before 2000 why the many , many knowlegable divers didn’t report seeing them way back then.
      I can recall the poor guy getting a lot of angst over where he got his lionfish that he exhibited in that exhibition though.
      The lionfish have become in the ocean here what Mexican Pepper trees and red eared slider turtles are on land. We need to exterminate them all !

    • Joanna Pitt says:

      This video is fairly well known in local lionfish circles. Genetic studies have shown that the lionfish now in Bermuda waters are part of the invasive population that originated in Florida in the 1980s.

      • sage says:

        Oh ok, thanks. Do you have links to the study? Can lionfish cross oceans, or does that show someone brought them over?

        • Toodle-oo says:

          Theory is that spawn from down south made it up here due to ocean currents.

  2. John says:

    Can you point me to that video, please?

    • sage says:

      Sorry, but I just scanned through the five historical videos in the Bernews archives and a few were “unavailable in this area”, I know I saw it for sure, now I wonder if it was on you tube where a guy named Butz posts old Bermuda footage.

  3. Bill Akin says:

    The utube video is titled Bermuda vacation 1956 and the lionfish is seen
    from a glass bottom boat. Looked very much like Bermuda reefscape. L lately found out it was made by a professional documentary company and so the lionfish scene could have been from anywhere. It did cause me to wonder if lionfish were introduced by the post WW2 bauxite trade between Jamaica and Japan, Australia, China et al. 1950s a comfy ballast water ride through the Panama canal and paradise found. Best to you all, Bill