Transcript: Ep. 1 - Toxic Invaders | Feb 28, 2019

(music plays)

A clip shows a lionfish in a coral reef.

The narrator says THIS CAPTIVATING
CREATURE IS A LIONFISH.
THEY'RE BEAUTIFUL INDEED,
BUT BEWARE,
NEEDLE-SHARP VENOMOUS SPINES
PACK A NASTY PUNCH.
NATIVE TO THE INDO-PACIFIC,
LIONFISH ARE NOW AN INVASIVE
SPECIES ACROSS THE CARIBBEAN AND
MUCH OF THE WESTERN ATLANTIC.
THEY'VE SPREAD OUT
IN ALL DIRECTIONS -
MILLIONS OF SQUARE
MILES OF OCEAN.

An animated map shows the lionfish expansion from the mid-eighties to 2013.

The narrator says EFFICIENT PREDATORS
AND PROLIFIC BREEDERS,
THEY WIPE OUT NATIVE SPECIES
AT AN ALARMING RATE.
IN MEXICO, FLORIDA
AND THE CARIBBEAN,
SUPPRESSION EFFORTS
ARE BARELY MAKING A DENT
IN THEIR RAPIDLY
INCREASING NUMBERS.
LIONFISH HAVE NOW MADE THEIR WAY
TO CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA.
IN FLORIDA, TEAMS OF SCUBA
DIVERS COMPETE IN LIONFISH
DERBIES TO SEE WHO CAN SPEAR
OR CAPTURE THE MOST LIONFISH
IN A SINGLE DAY.
AND PEOPLE CERTAINLY
LOVE TO HUNT.

Daryl is in his forties, bald and clean shaven and wears a black T-shirt with a print on the left and a brown hat.

Daryl says I'M HERE TO KILL
LIONFISH, GLADLY.
KILL 'EM ALL AND LET
GOD SORT 'EM OUT
'CAUSE THEY'RE EVIL
AND I HAD THEM.

The narrator says WILY ENTREPRENEURS
ARE RACING TO INVENT
NEW AND MORE LETHAL WEAPONS
TO KILL LIONFISH.
CONSERVATION GROUPS ARE FOCUSING
SIGNIFICANT RESOURCES
ON CONTROLLING THE
LIONFISH INVASION.
SCUBA DIVERS, SPEAR FISHERMEN
AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES,
ALL ARE UNITED IN THEIR
EFFORTS TO WIPE OUT
THIS DESTRUCTIVE SPECIES.
IT'S ALL-OUT WAR ON THESE
TOXIC INVADERS.

A woman shows off tens of lionfish in a spear.

Music plays as the opening sequence rolls.

The title of the show appears against clips showing images of marine life. It reads "The Blue Realm."

The narrator says NO INVASIVE SPECIES
COLONIZES SUCH A WIDE
GEOGRAPHIC AREA OR VARIETY
OF HABITATS AS LIONFISH.
THEY'RE EVERYWHERE,
RIGHT FROM THE SURFACE,
DOWN TO A DEPTH OF 1,000 FEET.
AS AN INVASIVE SPECIES, THEY'RE
THE PERFECT BIOLOGICAL STORM.

The name of the episode reads "Toxic invaders."

A caption reads "Key West, Florida."

The narrator says NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW
WHAT A LIONFISH IS
OR WHY THEY'RE A THREAT,
BUT THEY SHOULD.

The director says DO YOU KNOW
WHAT A LIONFISH IS?

A woman in a white hat says NO I DON'T.
WHAT IS IT?

The director says DO YOU KNOW
WHAT A LIONFISH IS?

A boy says NO.

A woman in a white shirt says NO, I HAVE NO IDEA.

A man in a plaid shirt says NEVER HEARD OF A LIONFISH.


A woman in a printed T-shirt says I THINK ITS FACE
HAS LIKE WHISKERY FINS.

A woman in a purple tank top says I THINK THEY'RE VERY VICIOUS.

A man with a long, blond beard says GOT LIONFISH UNDER MY BOAT. IT
IS ABOUT AS BIG AS THIS BASKET.
PROBABLY TASTE BETTER THOUGH.

(music plays)

A globe spins.

A caption on the globe reads "Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary."

The narrator says NEARLY 3,000
SQUARE MILES IN SIZE,
THE FLORIDA KEYS NATIONAL
MARINE SANCTUARY
STRETCHES FROM SOUTH MIAMI
TO THE DRY TORTUGAS.
WITHIN ITS BOUNDARIES
LIE EXTENSIVE CORAL REEFS -
THE THIRD LARGEST BARRIER
REEF ON THE PLANET,
6,000 SPECIES OF MARINE LIFE
CALL IT HOME.
THE LIST OF ENVIRONMENTAL
CHALLENGES FACING
THE SANCTUARY IS DAUNTING.
BUT NEVER BEFORE HAS IT
ENCOUNTERED A THREAT
AS POTENTIALLY DESTRUCTIVE
AS LIONFISH.

The caption changes to "Lad Akins. Reef Environmental Education Foundation."

Lad is in his forties, with short gray hair and wears beige Bermuda shorts and a pale blue Polo T-shirt.

Lad says FOR THE MOST PART THE
EARLY REPORTS WERE ISOLATED
TO SOUTH FLORIDA AND THEY WERE
PRETTY FEW AND FAR BETWEEN,
UNTIL ABOUT 2000.
AND IN 2000,
WE BEGAN TO SEE REPORTS COMING
FROM THE EAST COAST OF THE US
AS FAR NORTH AS NORTH CAROLINA
AND OUT TO BERMUDA.
AND AROUND THEN, PEOPLE STARTED
SAYING, "WAIT A SECOND,
THIS ISN'T JUST ONE
OR TWO FISH ANYMORE.
SOMETHING'S GOING ON AND WE'RE
SEEING INCREASES IN DISTRIBUTION
AND INCREASES IN
ABUNDANCE OF LIONFISH."
AND THAT'S WHEN WE REALLY
STARTED LOOKING INTO
WHAT THIS MIGHT MEAN
FOR THE REGION.

The narrator says CAPTAIN GARY MACE
OWNS AND OPERATES
CONCH REPUBLIC DIVERS.
THE LIONFISH INVASION HAS
GIVEN MANY IN THIS BUSINESS
CAUSE FOR CONCERN.

Gary is in his fifties, with slightly long gray hair and a goatee and wears sunglasses, a blue T-shirt, a bright orange cap, and a gold necklace.

Jim is in his late forties, with short straight graying hair and wears gray shorts, a red neoprene shirt and a black cap.

Gary says HEY, JIM.

Jim says HEY, GARY.
GOOD TO SEE YOU, BUDDY.

The narrator says GARY IS JOINED BY
UNDERWATER CAMERAMAN JIM KOZMIK.
BOTH DIVERS KNOW FIRSTHAND
JUST HOW PAINFUL
A LIONFISH ENCOUNTER CAN BE.
GARY AND JIM HAVE
BOTH BEEN STUNG.

The caption changes to "Jim Kozmik. Underwater Cameraman."

Jim says I DIDN'T REALLY SEE MUCH
AT FIRST, JUST A SHARP,
YOU KNOW, A SPIKE.
BUT ABOUT THREE HOURS LATER IT
JUST CAME ON LIKE GANG BUSTERS,
VERY STRONG, PULSING
NERVE PAIN, VERY PAINFUL
AND CONSTANT THROBBING
IN YOUR ARM.
AND IT REALLY HURT
FOR ABOUT THREE DAYS
AND I ONLY HIT A SMALL ONE.

The narrator says TO GAIN
A BETTER UNDERSTANDING
OF THE LIONFISH INVASION,
MARINE BIOLOGIST DR JAMES WOOD
JOINED THE DIVE TEAM.

James is in his thirties, with short brown hair and wears printed shorts, a black T-shirt and a beige cap.

Jim says HEY!

James says HEY, JIM.

Jim says JAMES, HOW YOU DOING?

James PRETTY GOOD, PRETTY GOOD.

Jim says WELCOME TO THE KEYS. READY TO
TO HUNT SOME LIONFISH DOWN?

James says I AM, I AM.

Jim says OKAY, WELL WE'VE GOT
'EM WAITING FOR YOU.

James says ALL RIGHT, LET'S GO.

Jim says COME ON.

The caption changes to "Gary Mace. Conch Republic Divers."

On the boat, Gary says SO THE REEFS OUT HERE,
THEY'RE MY LIVELIHOOD.
I COME OUT HERE AND I NEVER
SEE AS MANY FISH
AS I DO RIGHT HERE
IN THE FLORIDA KEYS.
AND THAT'S WHAT BRINGS
A LOT OF PEOPLE DOWN.
THESE LIONFISH ARE EATING
THE LITTLE BABIES,
THE JUVENILE FISH, IF YOU WILL.
IT'S GOING TO
DEVASTATE THE REEF.
WHEN IT DEVASTATES THE REEF,
IT KILLS THE FISH,
IT KILLS MY LIVELIHOOD.
IT'S VERY IMPORTANT FOR US TO
FIND AND DESTROY THESE LIONFISH.

James puts on his diving gear and says SUPPOSEDLY THESE
GLOVES ARE LIONFISH PROOF.
I HOPE.

The divers go in the water.

The narrator says THE EAGLE
IS AN ARTIFICIAL REEF,
A SHIP PURPOSELY SUNK
TO ATTRACT MARINE LIFE,
AND SCUBA DIVERS.
THERE'S LOTS OF DARK CORNERS
AND RECESSES, IDEAL PLACES
FOR FISH TO HIDE AND TO HUNT.
IT'S PERFECT HABITAT
FOR LIONFISH.
BECAUSE THE WRECK LIES IN
DEEP WATER, THE TEAM USES
REBREATHERS, HIGH-TECH EQUIPMENT
THAT ALLOWS THE DIVERS
TO VENTURE DEEPER AND
STAY UNDERWATER LONGER.
AFTER JUST A FEW MINUTES,
THEY SPOT A LIONFISH.
IT MAKES NO ATTEMPT TO FLEE AND
SEEMS TO BE UNAFRAID OF DIVERS.
BUT IT'S CURRENTLY ILLEGAL
IN THE SANCTUARY TO SPEAR FISH
WHILE USING REBREATHERS SO THIS
LIONFISH IS SAFE, FOR NOW.
TO COLLECT AND SPEAR LIONFISH
ON THE SHALLOW REEF,
THE DIVE TEAM SWITCHES
TO REGULAR SCUBA GEAR.
WITH CLEAR CAPTURE NETS,
GARY TRAPS HIS FIRST LIONFISH.
BUT NOT ALL LIONFISH
ARE SO EASY TO CATCH.
AFTER A FEW ESCAPES, GARY TURNS
TO A CONVENTIONAL POLE SPEAR,
AND THE HUNT REALLY BEGINS.
CONSIDERING THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL
IMPACT, EVERY LIONFISH
REMOVED FROM THE REEF
IS A SMALL VICTORY.

Jim says IT'S PRETTY NEAT
FOLLOWING GARY AROUND
WATCHING HIM CAPTURE,
THE TWO METHODS.
ONE WITH A SPEAR, THE ONES
THAT WE COULDN'T BAG
AND THE ONES THAT ARE
ON TOP OF THE REEF,
WE TRY TO BAG THEM AND
GARY GOT A FEW OF THEM.

Gary catches several lionfish and put them in a clear bag.
The caption changes to "Doctor James Wood. Marine biologist."

James says I'M A MARINE BIOLOGIST
AND I'VE BEEN ON ASSIGNMENT
ALL OVER THE WORLD BUT
THESE ARE MY LOCAL REEFS.
THIS IS WHERE I GREW UP AND AS
A KID WE DIDN'T SEE LIONFISH.
NOW THEY'RE IN A LOT
OF DIFFERENT AREAS
AND IT'S REALLY
DISTURBING TO SEE THEM
AND SEE HOW MANY OF THEM
THERE ARE OUT THERE.
SOUTH FLORIDA HAS A LOT
OF INVASIVE SPECIES,
PYTHONS, IGUANAS AND TILAPIA.
PYTHONS ARE A REAL PROBLEM
IN THE EVERGLADES
BUT THEY'RE MOSTLY RESTRICTED
TO THE EVERGLADES.
LIONFISH ON THE OTHER HAND
ARE BROADCAST SPAWNERS.
A FEMALE LIONFISH CAN PUT OUT
TWO MILLION EGGS PER YEAR
AND THOSE EGGS GO UP INTO
THE CURRENTS AND THEN
GETS DISTRIBUTED ALL OVER
THE GREATER CARIBBEAN AREA,
LOTS OF DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.
HERE WE GO!

Jim says HOW'D YOU MAKE OUT?

In the surface Gary says NOT BAD.
WE GOT THREE MORE MONSTERS
OFF THE REEF.

James WE DID GREAT.
WE SAW A BUNCH.
WE GOT THREE IN THE BAG.
SUCCESS.

Gary says THERE'S A WAY
THAT THEY ACTUALLY TELL
THE AGE OF THESE THINGS.
THERE'S SOME BONE INSIDE 'EM.
IT'S LIKE, THEY SAY
IT'S LIKE A TREE.
THEY CAN ACTUALLY MEASURE
THE SIZE OF THAT.
I GUESS IT'S LIKE
COUNTING THE RINGS.
WELL THESE GUYS, I'D SAY
THEY'RE PROBABLY
MAYBE A LITTLE MORE
THAN A YEAR OLD.
WHAT I'M GOING TO GO AHEAD
AND DO FIRST IS TO CUT
THESE SPINES OFF, MAKE IT A
LITTLE BETTER FOR US TO GRAB.
SO WE JUST TAKE THE SCISSORS
AND CUT THE SPINES OFF.
NOW THERE'S STILL VENOM INSIDE,
UNDERNEATH THE SKIN THERE
ON THE SPINES.
BUT WE'RE TAKING THE SHARP,
NEEDLE POINT OFF SO
WE WON'T HAVE TO WORRY
ABOUT GETTING STUCK, HOPEFULLY.
HE'S NOT SO DANGEROUS NOW.
HE WON'T BE EATING ANYMORE FISH
OFF OUR REEF, THAT'S FOR SURE.

The narrator says JESSICA PULFER
IS THE DIRECTOR OF MARINE LAB,
A RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL
FACILITY IN KEY LARGO.

Jessica is in her thirties, with long light brown hair in a low ponytail and wears gray shorts and a white polo T-shirt.

Jessica says HI, JAMES.

James says NICE TO MEET YOU.

Jessica says NICE TO MEET YOU TOO.

James says I BROUGHT SOME LIONFISH WITH
ME.

Jessica says AWESOME.

In the lab, James takes a lionfish out of a bag and puts it in a tray.

Jessica says OOOH!
NICE FISH.

James says THANK YOU.

Jessica says FIRST THING WE CAN
TAKE A LOOK AT IS THIS MOUTH.
I LOVE THAT HIS MOUTH
IS KIND OF OPEN.
THAT'S ONE WAY THAT THEY
ARE SUCH GOOD PREDATORS
IS BY SIMPLY OPENING UP THAT
MOUTH AND WHATEVER'S NEARBY
JUST GETS SUCKED RIGHT IN.
THIS IS THE BUSINESS
END OF THE FISH.
THIS IS WHERE THEIR DEFENCE
MECHANISM COMES ON.
WE CAN PULL OPEN THIS DORSAL
SPINE THAT THEY HAVE,
OR THIS DORSAL FIN
THAT THEY HAVE ON TOP.

James says LOOKS LIKE A NEEDLE.

Jessica says IT IS PRETTY MUCH A NEEDLE,
LIKE A HYPODERMIC NEEDLE.
THE ONLY PLACE THAT
YOU CAN GET THE VENOM
IS RIGHT AT THE TIP
OF THAT NEEDLE.
SO IF I WERE TO JUST STICK
MY FINGER RIGHT THERE,
I'D PROBABLY GET
A LITTLE VENOM IN.

James says SO IF YOU WERE TO EAT
ONE OF THESE AS A PREDATOR,
YOU'D PROBABLY GET A SPINE
OR THREE IN YOU.

Jessica says IT'D BE NASTY CASE
OF INDIGESTION.

James says THEY SHOULD CALL
THESE PUNK ROCK FISH.
AND WE CAUGHT THIS LITTLE GUY
WITH A TROPICAL FISH NET.

Jessica says HE'S CUTE.
EVEN THAT LITTLE GUY
PACKS A MEAN PUNCH.

James says OH, YEAH.
LOOK AT THOSE SPINES.
THANKS, JESSICA, FOR
LETTING US USE MARINE LAB.
IT'S BEEN FUN.
I'VE LEARNED A LOT
AND I HOPE TO SEE YOU
AT THE DERBY.

(music plays)

A poster showing a picture of a lionfish and the caption "This is not just another pretty little fish. Lionfish do not belong on the reefs here in South Florida. Stop them."
Another poster appears with the caption "Wanted. Lionfish hunters. 2012 South Florida Lionfish Derby Series."

The narrator says IT'S DERBY DAY
IN KEY LARGO.
A DOZEN TEAMS FROM ACROSS SOUTH
FLORIDA ARE HERE TO CAPTURE,
SPEAR AND TO KILL AS MANY
LIONFISH AS POSSIBLE.

The caption changes to "7 A.M. Lionfish Derby day."

Bob walks out of his truck.

Bob is in his fifties, with short wavy blond hair and wears printed shorts, a black T-shirt with a legend, sunglasses and a cap.

He says WHERE ARE THEY AT?
WE'RE READY.
WE ARE READY, MY MAN.
WE GOT THE FRAPPERS,
WE GOT THE CATCH BAGS,
WE'VE GOT A BEAUTIFUL DAY
IN KEY LARGO, FLORIDA.

A man says WE GOT THE FRAPPER.

Bob says WE GOT THE CAPTAIN'S
VERSION HERE.
IT WORKS VERY MUCH LIKE A BOW
AND ARROW OR A SLING SHOT.
WE LIKE TO CALL IT
OLD TECHNOLOGY
WRAPPED IN A NEW PACKAGE.

He shows a legend on his T-shirt and says PREPARE TO BE CONTROLLED.
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.
[LAUGHS]

Daryl says I'M HERE TO KILL
LIONFISH, GLADLY.
KILL 'EM ALL AND LET
GOD SORT 'EM OUT
'CAUSE THEY'RE EVIL
AND I HATE THEM.

The narrator says IT'S OPEN SEASON
ON THE INVADERS, NO BAG LIMITS,
VERY FEW RULES,
AN ALL-OUT OFFENSIVE
AGAINST PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE.

A man carrying oxygen tanks says GET SOME AIR ON
BOARD FOR PEOPLE.

Bob says CAPTAIN'S GOT TO FIND THEM
AND YES, THEY ARE WIDESPREAD
THROUGHOUT ATLANTIC AND
CARIBBEAN BUT IT'S NO GUARANTEE
WE'RE GOING TO FIND FISH
ON EVERY GUIDE.

Daryl says NO GUARANTEE.

Bob says SO, BETWEEN OUR GIRL
OVER HERE WITH LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
AND MIKE WITH LOCAL KNOWLEDGE,
WE'RE GOING TO FIND SOME FISH,
AREN'T WE, HUH?

Daryl YES.

Bob says YES.
HO-WAH, HO-WAH, HO-WAH!

A man with white hair says WE'RE GOING TO HEAD OUT,
OFF KEY LARGO HERE,
WE'RE GOING TO GET INTO AN AREA
KNOWN AS HAWKS CHANNEL.
THIS IS A PATHWAY, IF YOU WILL,
OUT IN THE OCEAN
THAT PARALLELS THE SHORELINE
OF THE FLORIDA KEYS.

Bob says GOOD PLAN.

The narrator says BOB HICKERSON IS
ONE A HANDFUL OF ENTREPRENEURS
DEVELOPING NEW WEAPONS TO
HANDLE AND TO KILL LIONFISH.
IT'S A BOOMING BUSINESS.
AFTER A BRIEF RUN OUT
TO SEA FROM THE MARINA,
TEAM FRAPPER IS READY TO RUMBLE.
ALL TEAMS MUST BE BACK TO SHORE
WITH THEIR LIONFISH CATCHES
BY 5:00 P.M.
THERE'S NO TIME TO WASTE.
[CAMERA CLICKS]

The caption changes to "8 A.M. Team Salty Dog."

The narrator says IT'S 8:00 A.M.
AND TEAM SALTY DOG
IS OFF TO A VERY LATE START.
BOTH TEAM FRAPPER
AND TEAM SALTY DOG
HOPE TO DOMINATE
THE COMPETITION.
BUT A LIONFISH HUNT IS
AT BEST, A CRAP SHOOT.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE THEY ARE
OR IF THEY'VE BEEN FISHED OUT.

The caption changes to "Captain Patrick Peacock. Team Salty Dog."

Patrick is in his forties, bald and with a shadow of a beard. He wears a white T-shirt.

Patrick says THE NUMBER
OF LIONFISH WE GET
IS PARTLY LUCK AS WELL
AS OUR OWN SKILL
IN UNDERWATER AND FINDING THEM.
WE MIGHT END UP AT THE END OF
THE DAY WITH THREE LIONFISH
OR WE MIGHT END UP WITH 300.
HEY, DAN.
JUST GRAB A MASK AND FINS,
NO SCUBA, AND JUST JUMP IN
A TAKE AN EYEBALL.

Dan says ALL RIGHT.

Dan is in his late thirties, with short wavy brown hair and a beard. He wears a diving suit.

Patrick says WE'RE CLOSE
TO THE MANGROVES.
A LOT OF JUVENILE FISH
HANG OUT IN SHALLOWER WATER.
RIGHT NOW WE'RE LIKE
IN EIGHT FOOT OF DEPTH.
WE'RE JUST CHECKING TO SEE IF
WE CAN FIND A ROCK FORMATION.

Dan says TOPOGRAPHY
IS GRASSY PLAINS.
SOMETHING THIS AREA IS KNOWN FOR
BUT NOT WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR.
SO WE'RE GOING TO TRY
SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

[ENGINE ROARS]

Dan says DIVE, DIVE, DIVE.
[WATER SPLASHES]

Dan and another man jump in the water.

The other man says WE JUST JUMPED IN AT ABOUT
15 FEET TO SEE IF COULD FIND
ANY ROCK FORMATIONS WHERE
THE LIONFISH MAY BE HIDING.
BUT THE VISIBILITY IS PRETTY
POOR AND ALL WE SAW WAS
GRASSLANDS SO WE'RE GOING TO
HEAD OUT TO SOME BLUER WATER
AND OUR HUNT FOR THE LIONFISH.
[ENGINE ROARS]

Dan says IT'S GOING TO GET MUCH BETTER
WHEN WE GO DEEPER.
I HOPE WE JUST FIND ONE.

The other mans says WE'LL FIND MORE THAN ONE.
WE JUST GOTTA GO DEEPER
INTO SOME BLUE WATER.

Patrick says WE'VE GOTTA WALL
DIVE, WE'RE ON TOP OF THE WALL
RIGHT NOW ABOUT 40-45 FEET.
AND THE WALL SLIDES DOWN
TO ABOUT 90 TO 100 FEET
TO THE SAND.

Patrick jumps in the water.

The narrator says AS A SAFETY
PRECAUTION, DIVERS DEPLOY
MARKER BUOYS.
THE BUOYS INDICATE WHERE
TEAM MEMBERS ARE AND ALSO
LET OTHER BOATERS KNOW
THAT DIVERS ARE JUST
BELOW THE SURFACE.

Patrick says LIONFISH LOVE STRUCTURE
WHETHER IT'S SHALLOW STRUCTURE,
DEEP STRUCTURE,
IT DOESN'T MATTER.
ARTIFICIAL REEFS ARE GREAT
WHETHER IT'S WRECKS,
PIPES, ETCETERA.
THEY LIKE LEDGES,
ANYTHING THAT GETS THEM
UP OUT OF THE CURRENT
AND SECURE.
IT'S USUALLY WHEREVER
LOBSTERS ARE.

The narrator says EVEN THOUGH SONAR
PROFILES SHOWED THE RIGHT
TOPOGRAPHY FOR LIONFISH, TEAM
SALTY DOG'S FIRST FEW DIVES
RESULTED IN NOTHING MORE
THAN A CURIOUS SEA TURTLE.

Patrick says I MEAN IT SEEMS LIKE
IDEAL LIONFISH TERRITORY.
EXCELLENT STRUCTURE,
EXCELLENT LEDGES,
UH, THEY'RE JUST NOT HERE.
WHICH MEANS OTHER DIVERS
HAVE BEEN, HA!
EITHER TODAY OR
PAST MONTH OR SO.

The caption changes to "Team Frapper."

The man with white hair says PLEASE REMEMBER THAT ALL OF
THE WATERS OF THE FLORIDA KEYS
ARE A NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY,
INCLUDING WHERE WE ARE NOW.
I WOULD START OUT IN THE
18-20 FOOT WHERE THE SAND IS
AND MOVE OVER TO THE LEDGE
AND THEN JUST WORK THE LEDGES.

Daryl sees another boat and says HEY, THERE'S THE COMPETITION.
LOOK AT 'EM.
AH, THEY DON'T KNOW
WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

Team Frapper jumps in the water.

The narrator says THE FIRST FEW
DIVES FOR TEAM FRAPPER
ALSO PROVED TO BE A BUST.
THE REEFS THEY SCOURED
DIDN'T HOLD ANY LIONFISH.
WHERE WAS THE SO-CALLED
LIONFISH INVASION?

Daryl says GUY, I GOT SKUNKED.
YEAH, I DIDN'T SEE A ONE.
I'M GONNA LOSE
MY NAME AS SPOTTER.

A man with gray hair says IF YOU DON'T HAVE LIONFISH,
YOU CAN'T COME BACK ON THE BOAT.
YOU GOTTA GO BACK AND GET SOME.
[LAUGHS]

Daryl says PERFECT HABITAT.
SOMEBODY'S ALREADY
CLEANED IT OFF.

A woman says DIDN'T FIND ANY.
FOUND A LOT OF OTHER COOL STUFF.

The narrator says IT'S EVIDENT THAT
SPEAR FISHERMEN AND DIVERS
ARE EFFECTIVE IN CONTROLLING
LIONFISH NUMBERS.
THE PROBLEM IS THERE'S
FAR MORE TERRAIN -
MILLIONS OF SQUARE MILES, THAT
IS NOT VISITED BY SCUBA DIVERS,
OR IS TOO DEEP.
THAT'S WHERE LIONFISH
SEEM TO BE THRIVING.
BOTH TEAMS DECIDE TO TRY THEIR
LUCK IN MORE REMOTE AREAS
WHERE SCUBA DIVERS RARELY VISIT.
AND THEY WEREN'T DISAPPOINTED.
[MUFFLED CHEERS]
AT LAST, THE SALTY DOG'S
LUCK CHANGES FOR THE BETTER.
THEY FINALLY DISCOVER
SOME LIONFISH.

Patrick says THE TALLEST
STRUCTURE IN THE WHOLE REEF
WE WENT UP TO AND THERE WAS
ONE, TWO, THREE, THREE LIONFISH.

The other man on the team says I TOLD YOU THERE
WAS AN INVASION.

Dan says I GOT 'EM ALL ON THE LADS
LIKE 30 SECONDS ON THE DIME.
HA, HA!

Another man says AH, NICE.
NICE, NICE.

Dan says I KILLED ALL THREE OF THOSE
WHEN I HAD 500 POUNDS OF AIR.
I WAS QUITE LITERALLY STARTING
TO PICK THEM UP THEN I SAW ONE.
SO THEN I'M LIKE, "OH, WELL."
[LAUGHS]
I CALL THIS MY LIONFISH KILLER
BECAUSE I BOUGHT IT A MONTH AGO
AND I'VE KILLED 187 SO FAR.
SO, SHE'S A LETHAL LITTLE GIRL.
[LAUGHS]
[CAMERA CLICKS]

The caption changes to "Team Frapper."

Bob says ALL RIGHT, WE'VE GOT A SPOT.
FIRST TWO TURNED UP NEGATIVE,
THIS ONE SOUNDS VERY PROMISING,
SOMEWHERE AROUND 50-80 FEET.

The narrator says IMMEDIATELY UPON
ENTRY, BOB HICKERSON SPOTS
THE FIRST OF SEVERAL LIONFISH,
A PROVERBIAL 'FISH IN A BARREL'.

Bob says UH, FIRST ONE YOU AND
I CAME UPON, THAT SMALL ONE
IN THE BARREL SPONGE AND, MAN,
IT WAS LIKE PERFECT SETUP.

The narrator says THE FRAPPER'S
LUCK ALSO CHANGES.
THEIR LAST TWO DIVES TURN
INTO A SHOOTING GALLERY.
MOST LIONFISH DON'T
MAKE MUCH OF AN EFFORT
TO HIDE OR TO AVOID DIVERS.
THEIR DEFENSIVE SPINES ARE
GENERALLY QUITE EFFECTIVE
AND DETER MOST PREDATORS.
BUT NOT THESE HUNTERS.

A man says OH, LOOK AT THAT!
WAY TO GO, BOB!

Bob says HE WAS DEEP IN UNDERNEATH
THE CORAL HEAD, HANGING OUT.
I CALLED MIKE OVER 'CAUSE I KNEW
HE HAD THE POLE SPEAR WITH HIM
AND NEEDED A LITTLE MORE REACH.

The narrator says LIONFISH ON THIS
REMOTE REEF WERE SITTING DUCKS
FOR TEAM FRAPPER.

The woman says IN THE LAST CORAL HEAD THERE
WERE THREE BIG ONES IN IT.
SO WE WERE BASICALLY ON BOTH
SIDES 'CAUSE THERE WAS LIKE
A TUNNEL GOING UNDER.

The man with gray hair says WELL, HOW'D YOU DO?

Daryl says WE DID WELL.

Patrick says AS A TEAM. YOU BROUGHT
A LOT BACK FROM THIS SPOT.

Daryl says YES. EVERYBODY CAME BACK WITH
SOMETHING IN THEIR BAG.

The man with white hair says AH, I'LL TELL YOU WHAT, THAT
LAST SPOT, SHE MISSED THE COUNT.
THERE WERE FIVE BIG ONES
UNDER THAT LAST CORAL HEAD,
AND WE GOT 'EM ALL.

Daryl says I CAN KEEP MY
TITLE NOW OF SPOTTER.
YES.

Bob says AND IT WAS JUST
NON-STOP, SPOTTER.
NICE ONE ON THAT BIG ONE.
DARYL, GOOD SPOT, MAN.
GOOD SPOT.

A man says THIS IS THE CATCH OF THE DAY,
MARIA BROUGHT BACK TO THE BOAT.
SHE WAS IN ABOUT 30 FEET OF
WATER WHEN SHE GOT THIS ONE.
IT'S A NICE ONE.

Another man says YEP.

The first man says IT'S ONE OF THE BIGGER ONES
I'VE SEEN OF RECENT,
THAT'S FOR SURE.
SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE.

Another man says DARN BASTARDS.

The first mans says WHOO!

Bob says GREAT DAY ON THE WATER
HERE IN THE KEYS.
I THINK WE'VE GOT A REAL GOOD
SHOT AT THE LARGEST CATEGORY.
DEFINITELY HAVE A CONTENDER.

The woman says ALL RIGHT.
IT WAS A GOOD DAY FOR US
BUT VERY BAD DAY
FOR THE LIONFISH.
[LAUGHTER]

The narrator says A LITTLE BRAVADO
IS IN ORDER,
TEAM FRAPPER DID QUITE WELL.
MEANWHILE, TEAM SALTY DOG
IS RUNNING LATE.
THEY'VE ONLY GOT A FEW MINUTES
TO MAKE THE DERBY CUT OFF TIME.
[WATER GURGLES]

The caption changes to "January 6th, 2009."

The narrator says THIS IS VIDEO
FOOTAGE OF THE FIRST
CONFIRMED LIONFISH
IN THE FLORIDA KEYS.
IT'S DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE THE
DATE, IT'S NOT THAT LONG AGO.
WITH CAMERAS IN TOW, LAD AKINS
OF THE REEF ENVIRONMENTAL
EDUCATION FOUNDATION
DID THE HONOURS.
IT WAS THE FIRST RECORDED
LIONFISH CAPTURE
IN A FULL SCALE INVASION
OF THE FLORIDA KEYS.
ONE OF THE BIG QUESTIONS
SURROUNDING LIONFISH,
AND PERHAPS SOMETHING THAT
WILL NEVER BE FULLY UNDERSTOOD,
IS HOW THEY GOT HERE
IN THE FIRST PLACE.
FORREST YOUNG OF
DYNASTY MARINE EXPLAINS.

The caption changes to "Forrest Young. Dynasty Marine Associates."

Forrest is in his fifties, with short gray hair and wears glasses, beige Bermuda shirts and a bleu, short-sleeved shirt.

He says I BELIEVE THAT THIS
CAME FROM SOME TYPE OF EITHER
A HOME AQUARIUM OR
AN AQUARIUM RELEASE,
WHETHER IT WAS A WELL-MEANING
INDIVIDUAL WITH A PET
WHO DIDN'T WANT TO EUTHANIZE IT
WHEN IT OUTGREW THE CONFINES
OF THE TANK OR SOME
OTHER SITUATION
WHERE THESE ANIMALS
GOT INTO THE WILD.
IT SEEMED TO SPREAD FROM THE
MIAMI AREA NORTH AND SOUTH.
WE'VE CAUGHT A LOT OF
LIONFISH OVER THE YEARS.
IT STARTED OFF AS JUST
A TINY TRICKLE
OF ONE HERE AND ONE THERE.
I MEAN, IT WAS ACTUALLY
ALMOST A YEAR BEFORE
I SAW MY FIRST LIONFISH AFTER
THEY HAD BEEN REPORTED HERE
AND NOW THEY'RE EVERYWHERE.
ONCE A FISH BECOMES ESTABLISHED
TAKING 50 OR 2,000 OR 5,000 FISH
REALLY ISN'T GOING
TO MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE.
IN ORDER TO ELIMINATE THIS
SPECIES COMPLETELY YOU PROBABLY
HAVE TO GET ALMOST EVERY
LAST ONE BECAUSE I BELIEVE
IN MY HEART THAT THIS
INTRODUCTION STARTED
WITH ONLY ONE OR TWO FISH.
IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN HOW BIG
OF A REAL PROBLEM THIS IS
GOING TO BE OVER THE COURSE
OF THE NEXT DECADE OR TWO.

The narrator says THE LIONFISH
INVASION HAS SPURRED DEMAND
FOR NEW EQUIPMENT IN
THIS DIVING SUPERSTORE.
JUST LIKE OTHER SPORTSMEN,
LIONFISH HUNTERS
NEED WEAPONS AND GEAR.

The caption changes to Elizabeth Becker. Divers Direct."

Elizabeth is in her twenties, with shoulder length straight brown hair and wears beige shorts and a blue T-shirt.

She says THESE ARE WHAT A LOT OF
PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE THINKING
WHEN THEY'RE THINKING OF
SPEAR GUNS AND SPEAR FISHING,
THESE BIG GUNS.
THESE ARE MEANT FOR
OPEN WATER, BIG FISH.
YOU WANNA GO FOR
BIG PAPA GROUPER?
THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT.
BUT WHEN YOU WANT
TO GET UP CLOSE AND
PERSONAL IN THE REEF
AND SHOOT A LITTLE LIONFISH,
PROBABLY OVERKILL.
I THINK I NEED A SMALLER GUN.
TO USE THE LIONFISH POLE SPEAR,
LIKE ANY OTHER POLE SPEAR,
ALL YOU DO IT HOLD THAT
ELASTIC UNDER YOUR THUMB,
REACH THAT ELASTIC
ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP,
AND WHEN YOU'RE READY,
LET IT GO.
THESE ARE THE NETS THAT YOU
COULD USE TO NET A LIONFISH.
IF YOU DO TAKE THE CLASS TO DO
IT WITHIN THE SANCTUARY AREAS,
THIS IS WHAT YOU'VE GOT TO USE.
THE NICE THING ABOUT LIONFISH
IS THAT THEY TEND TO SIT
PRETTY DARN STILL.
THEY DON'T MOVE TOO MUCH.
SO WHEN YOU'RE HUNTING YOUR
LIONFISH, A LOT OF PEOPLE
LIKE TO WEAR PUNCTURE
RESISTANT GLOVES
JUST BECAUSE OF THOSE
LIONFISH SPINES.
THEY'RE VERY, VERY SHARP,
VERY FINE LIKE A NEEDLE
SO THE GLOVES ARE GOING TO HELP
PREVENT ANY ACCIDENTAL STICKS.

The caption changes to "4 PM. Lion Fish Derby Headquarters."

The narrator says TEAM FRAPPER
IS THE FIRST TEAM
BACK TO SHORE WITH THEIR CATCH.

Keri is in her twenties, with mid-length straight blond hair in a ponytail and wears sunglasses, green shorts and a yellow and red "Lionfish hunters" T-shirt.

She says LOOKS LIKE TEAM
FRAPPER JUST GOT IN
SO WE'LL GO AHEAD AND GET
THEM SCORED AND WE'LL TAKE
THEIR MAPS AND WE'LL SEE
WHAT THEY BROUGHT IN.

Bob says YOU GUYS ALL GOOD TODAY?

Lad says NO STINGS.
OH, YOU GOT SOME ONES IN HERE.
[WHISTLES]

Keri says OH, THAT IS A BEAST.
THAT THING IS SO BIG.

Lad measures it and says ALL RIGHT.
VERY NICE.

The narrator says EACH LIONFISH IS
MEASURED AND LOGGED INTO THE
REEF DATABASE.

Lad says TWO SEVENTY TWO.

The narrator says EVERY PIECE OF DATA
COLLECTED IS VALUABLE
INFORMATION IN THE FIGHT
AGAINST THIS INVASIVE SPECIES.

Lad says ONE THIRTY FOUR.
YOU'RE IN THE LEAD
ON ALL CATEGORIES.

As Lad holds one of the lionfish, a woman pretends to kiss it.

Lad says TOO CLOSE.
[LAUGHTER]
LITTLE FISHY BREATH.
THAT'S A NICE FISH.
[CAMERA CLICKS]

Keri takes a picture of Bob holding a lionfish.

Bob says NOW MORE WITH ME
LOOKING MEAN.
[LAUGHTER]

The caption changes to "Karrie Carnes. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary."

Karrie is in her thirties, with long wavy brown hair in a ponytail and wears sunglasses over her head and a blue Polo T-shirt.

She says SO WE'RE HERE IN OUR THIRD
YEAR OF LIONFISH DERBIES
IN THE FLORIDA KEYS.
AND IT'S GREAT TO SEE SO MANY
OF THE SAME FAMILIAR FACES WHO
ARE OUT THERE HAVING A GREAT DAY
ON THE WATER,
CAPTURING LIONFISH.
THESE DERBIES ARE A
FANTASTIC OUTREACH TOOL.
THEY ENABLE US TO SPREAD THE
WORD TO PEOPLE WHO ARE BOTH
FAMILIAR AND UNFAMILIAR WITH
LIONFISH, TO BRING THEM TOGETHER
WHERE THEY CAN SOCIALIZE,
HAVE FUN WATCHING
THE LIONFISH BE COUNTED.
BUT ALSO GET TO TASTE
AND SAMPLE LIONFISH BECAUSE
THE LIONFISH THAT ARE CAUGHT
HERE TODAY ARE ACTUALLY
COOKED UP AND SERVED.

A man says THEY TASTE FANTASTIC.
VERY, VERY LIGHT AND
FLAKEY WHITE FISH.
SIMILAR TO HOGFISH.
A BIG, BEAUTIFUL FILLET.

The narrator says ONE OF THE NEW
CATEGORIES IN THIS YEAR'S DERBY
IS THE SMALLEST FISH CAUGHT.
AND THIS ONE IS TINY.

Lad says OH MY GOODNESS!
THAT'S ONE OF THE
SMALLEST I'VE SEEN.
WOW.
OH, NICE.
I'M GOING TO SAY 43.
I'LL GET A CONFIRMATION.
THAT'S THE SMALLEST IN ANY OF
THE KEY LARGO DERBIES SO FAR.

The caption changes to "Team Key Lime Good Time."

A woman says IT WAS A REALLY GOOD
DAY OUT ON THE WATER.
WE DID ABOUT SIX DIVES
AND WE GOT ABOUT 100 FISH.

Lad says OH, YEAH!

The woman says THERE'S DEFINITELY A LOT
LESS LIONFISH NOW THAT WE
WENT THROUGH THERE.

The caption changes to "Team Strategery."

A man with a stubble says MAN, WE KILLED IT.
WE DID REALLY GOOD.
WE DID REALLY GOOD.
WE'RE CONFIDENT
ABOUT OUR RESULTS.

A man with a goatee says WE HAD A GREAT
TIME OUT THERE.
THE WEATHER WAS FANTASTIC.
WE WENT TO PROBABLY ABOUT
80 SPOTS, FREE DIVING, AND
WE GOT A WHOLE BUNCH OF THEM.
WE'LL SEE HOW MANY WE GOT.

The man with the stubble says WE COVERED PROBABLY 70-80
MILES, SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

The man with the goatee says SO, THE TECHNIQUE, WE WERE
FREE DIVING AND USING NETS.
WE USE THESE TINY LITTLE NETS.
THEY'RE MAYBE LIKE EIGHT INCHES
BY EIGHT INCHES SQUARE
SO THEY'RE REALLY FAST
TO GO THROUGH THE WATER.
AND WE SCOUTED HUNDREDS OF SPOTS
AND WE HAD IDENTIFIED
THE TOP ONES THAT WE
WERE GOING TO GO TO.
SO WE WOULD DROP IN TWO FREE
DIVERS AND THEY WOULD GO DOWN
WITH THE NETS, THE BOAT WOULD
CIRCLE AROUND AND WE WOULD
GO DOWN AND CATCH THEM,
ONE-TWO AT A TIME, SOMETIMES,
THROW THEM INTO THE BOAT,
A NEW NET IS COMING RIGHT BACK
INTO THE WATER FOR US TO GO DOWN
AND DO OUR NEXT DIVE.

The narrator says NOT ALL THE DIVERS
MANAGED TO AVOID GETTING STUNG
BY A LIONFISH.

A man from team Key Lime Good Time says IT'S LIKE GETTING YOUR
HAND SLAMMED IN A CAR DOOR.

A woman says GETTING YOUR HAND SLAMMED IN
A CAR DOOR WHILE IT'S ON FIRE.

The man says I ALMOST CRIED.
[WOMAN LAUGHS]

The narrator says AS RESULTS POUR IN,
A CLEARER PICTURE
OF THE DAY'S CATCH EMERGES.
A LOT OF LIONFISH WERE
REMOVED FROM THE REEF.
TEAM SALTY DOG MAKES
IT BACK TO THE DERBY
WITH JUST A FEW
MINUTES TO SPARE.

Patrick says THE LAST PLACE
WE WENT IT DIDN'T REALLY LOOK
LIKE THERE WAS GOING TO BE
THAT MUCH BUT LO AND BEHOLD,
WE GOT SIX AND WE GOT THEM
ALL IN THE LAST HOUR.
A DEAD LIONFISH IS
ALWAYS A GOOD LIONFISH.
REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU GET
SIX TODAY OR 300 TOMORROW,
IT'S ALL GOOD.

Lad says ONE THIRTY SIX.
ONE SIXTY ONE.

The narrator says EACH TAGGED FISH
GARNERS AN EXTRA 50 BUCKS
IN PRIZE MONEY, AND LETS
REEF KNOW EXACTLY
WHERE THE FISH WERE CAUGHT.
THE TEAMS MUST REPORT THEIR
CAPTURE SITES WITH GPS
CO-ORDINATES.

Lad says THAT'S A TAG THAT CAME OUT
OF ONE OF THE FISH FROM
THIS TEAM HERE.

Keri says YEAH, IT'S
A TAGGED LIONFISH.
TAG NUMBER 655.
GOT IT?

The narrator says RANDOM LIONFISH ARE
DISSECTED TO SEE WHAT THEY EAT.

Joel is in his thirties, with short curly brown hair and a shadow of a beard. He wears a yellow T-shirt.

He says IN THIS ONE STOMACH
WE HAVE FIVE DIFFERENT FISH
THAT ARE INSIDE OF IT.
AND, THEIR STOMACH CAN EXPAND
UP TO 33 TIMES ITS OWN SIZE.
SO THEY'LL EAT PRETTY MUCH
ALL DAY, EVERY DAY,
WHATEVER FITS IN THEIR MOUTH
UNTIL THEIR STOMACH
IS AS FULL AS IT CAN GET.
AND THEN THEY'LL PRETTY MUCH
WAIT UNTIL IT GETS DIGESTED
AND THEN JUST GO
AND EAT SOME MORE.
AND THEY'LL EAT FISH WHOLE SO
YOU'LL SEE ALL SORTS OF STUFF
FROM BLUE CRAB
TO SNAPPER, GROUPER.

The narrator says SO FAR, TEAM
STRATEGERY'S IMPRESSIVE CATCH
IS THE FRONT RUNNER FOR MOST
LIONFISH, AND THEY DID IT ALL
WITHOUT SPEARING A SINGLE FISH,
OR EVEN USING SCUBA GEAR.

Kerrie says WE KNEW THAT THE SIZES
WOULD INCREASE AND WE KNEW
THE NUMBERS WOULD INCREASE
BUT IT'S STILL SURPRISING
EVERY TIME THOSE TALLIES
COME IN AND YOU REALIZE
THAT IN AN INDIVIDUAL DAY,
TWO FREE DRIVERS CAN BRING IN
OVER 200 LIONFISH.

Lad says THE TOTAL NUMBER OF FISH
FOR THIS YEAR'S DERBY,
461 LIONFISH.
GOOD JOB, EVERYBODY.

[APPLAUSE]

Lad says SECOND PLACE IN THE
'LARGEST' CATEGORY,
378 MILLIMETRES,
TO A TEAM THAT'S BEEN
IN EVERY FLORIDA DERBY
SINCE THEY STARTED -
TEAM FRAPPER.
GOOD JOB!
[CHEERS, APPLAUSE]

Lad says GOOD JOB.

A woman with long curly hair says THANK YOU.

Lad says YOU'RE WELCOME.
[APPLAUSE]

Lad says IN FIRST PLACE WITH THE NEW
RECORD FOR THE UPPER KEYS DERBY
TEAM STRATEGERY, 233 FISH!
WAY TO GO. GOOD JOB!
NICELY DONE, ALICIA.

The man with the beard says THANK YOU.

Lad says MURRAY.
WAY TO GO, GUYS.
THOUSAND DOLLAR
FIRST PLACE PRIZE.
[CHEERS]

Lad says AND, KEEP UP THE
GOOD WORK YEAR-ROUND.
THE DERBY IS MORE THAN JUST
ABOUT REMOVING LIONFISH.
AND IT'S A GREAT TOOL TO GET
PEOPLE MORE AWARE OF THIS ISSUE
AND REALIZE THAT LIONFISH
IS A PROBLEM,
WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING
ABOUT IT.
BUT ALSO, INVASIVE SPECIES
IN GENERAL ARE BAD
AND WE NEED TO WORK
ON PREVENTING THIS
FROM HAPPENING AGAIN.

The narrator says THERE'S ONLY ONE
WAY TO FIND OUT HOW EFFECTIVE
DERBIES ARE IN SUPPRESSING
LIONFISH NUMBERS -
HEAD OUT TO THE REEF AND SURVEY
THE LIONFISH THAT REMAIN.
LAD AKINS AND HIS TEAM
RE-VISIT SOME OF THEIR
PRE-DERBY SURVEY SITES.

Lad says GOING TO HOP IN, GOING TO
SPREAD OUT AND SURVEY THE REEF,
FIND OUT HOW MANY
LIONFISH ARE HERE,
AND GET THE SIZES
OF EACH OF THOSE FISH.

The team jumps in the water.

The narrator says THE FIRST ORDER
OF BUSINESS IS TO MEASURE
THE SIZE OF SOME OF
THE REMAINING LIONFISH.

Jim says EVERY THIRD OR FOURTH
ROCK CORAL HEAD DOWN THERE
IS MAYBE ONE OR TWO
UNDER EACH OF THEM.
I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW MANY
ARE IN SHALLOW WATER HERE.
IT'S AMAZING.

Lad says ONE OF OUR RECENT
LIONFISH DERBIES, THE DERBY
BROUGHT IN OVER 1,000 LIONFISH
IN A SINGLE DAY EVENT.
NOW WE CALCULATED THE
CONSUMPTION, WHAT THOSE LIONFISH
WOULD HAVE EATEN OVER
THE NEXT YEARS' TIME
IF THEY HAD NOT BEEN REMOVED.
AND THE RESULTS WERE
PRETTY ASTOUNDING.
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN TWO MILLION
AND 8.8 MILLION PREY FISH
WOULD HAVE BEEN CONSUMED
BY THOSE 1,000 LIONFISH
OVER THE NEXT YEARS' TIME.

The narrator says TAGGING IS ANOTHER
TOOL IN THE FIGHT AGAINST
THESE INVASIVE FISH.
IT HELPS THE REEF TEAM
TRACK DOWN LIONFISH
DISTRIBUTION AND MIGRATION.

James says THE TAGGING TO ME
WAS REALLY INTERESTING.
THEY'RE ACTUALLY TAGGING
THE ANIMALS UNDERWATER
SO THEY'RE NOT BRINGING
THEM UP TO THE SURFACE.
AND THAT'S IMPORTANT BECAUSE
THEN THEY CAN TAG THEM
AT ANY DEPTH.
FISH HAVE A SWIM BLADDER
SO THAT AIR EXPANDS
AS YOU BRING THEM UP
SO IF YOU'RE WORKING REALLY
DEEP, YOU CAN'T REALLY
BRING THOSE FISH
UP TO THE SURFACE.

Lad says THIS IS ONE OF THOSE SITES
THAT BEFORE THE DERBY WE HAD
SEEN QUITE A NUMBER OF LIONFISH
AND TAGGED QUITE A FEW AS WELL.
WE JUST DID ANOTHER SURVEY
ON THE SITE AND WE STILL SAW
A LOT OF LIONFISH INCLUDING
SOME OF THOSE THAT WERE TAGGED.
SO, IT'S PRETTY OBVIOUS THAT
NOBODY'S BEEN TO THIS SITE
DURING THE DERBY.

The narrator says GARY MACE FOUND OUT
YET AGAIN JUST HOW DIFFICULT
IT IS TO HANDLE LIONFISH SAFELY.

Gary says WHEN I WAS TAKING THE
LIONFISH OFF THE SPEAR
AND IN THE BAG, I PUT THE SPEAR
THIS WAY AND PULLED IT BACK,
WELL, ONE OF THE SPINES GOT ME
RIGHT THERE ON THAT FINGER.

The caption changes to "Keri Kenning. Reef Environmental Education Foundation."

Keri says UNFORTUNATELY ON THAT
LAST ONE, GARY TOOK A LITTLE
STING SO HE ABORTED THE DIVE,
CAME UP, MADE A SAFE ASSENT
WHICH IS GOOD AND RIGHT NOW
WE'RE GOING TO GIVE HIM
SOME HOT WATER AND GET THAT HAND
SOAKING IN THE HOT WATER SO
HE CAN DENATURE THAT VENOM AND
GET HIM BACK TO FEELING GOOD.

Gary says I WAS REALLY SURPRISED
SO SEE THE NUMBER OF LIONFISH
THAT WERE ON HERE.
IT JUST SHOWS HOW,
HOW THEY'RE TAKING OVER THE KEYS
AND WE NEED TO REALLY
GET OUT THERE AND START
DOING SOME MORE WORK AND
DIVE SOME OF THESE LESSER DOVE
SITES TO GET THEM OFF THE REEF.
BECAUSE, ONE THING I NOTICED
DOWN THERE, THERE WAS A LOT
OF LIONFISH, THE LITTLE FISH,
LITTLE BITTY FISH
WEREN'T AROUND.
SO YOU KNOW THAT THE LIONFISH
ARE PROBABLY CLEANING THEM OFF.

Lad says EVEN THOUGH WE'RE TRYING
TO ADDRESS THIS LIONFISH
INVASION, WE REALLY DON'T HAVE
ANYTHING AGAINST THE FISH
SO WE TRY TO PUT THEM
DOWN HUMANELY,
AND EMERSION IN A ICE WATER BATH
LIKE THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST
HUMANE WAYS WE CAN
EUTHANIZE THESE FISH.
SO THEIR BODIES ARE JUST
GOING TO SLOWLY SHUT DOWN
IN THIS VERY COLD TEMPERATURE
AND THEY'LL EXPIRE
WITHOUT GOING THROUGH
TOO MUCH UNDO STRESS.

The narrator says LIONFISH ARE HAVING
A DRAMATIC IMPACT ON THE FLORIDA
KEYS, BUT THEY'RE STILL IN THE
EARLY STAGES OF THEIR INVASION.
IN THE BAHAMAS, THEY ARE
VERY WELL ESTABLISHED.
LIONFISH IMPACTS
THERE ARE PROFOUND.

Lad says STEPHANIE GREEN FROM
SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY
IN VANCOUVER HAD A RECENT
STUDY THAT SHOWED,
IN A TWO YEAR PERIOD
IN THE BAHAMAS,
PREDATION OF LIONFISH
DECREASED THE NATIVE
MARINE LIFE POPULATION BY
AN AVERAGE OF 65 PERCENT,
WITH SOME SITES SHOWING AS HIGH
AS A 95 PERCENT DECLINE,
IN JUST TWO YEARS.
SO WE'RE REALIZING NOW
THAT THE IMPACTS LIONFISH
ARE GOING TO HAVE
MAY BE VERY, VERY SEVERE.
WHILE WE'RE PRETTY SURE THAT
WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE
TO ERADICATE LIONFISH, THERE ARE
SOME REALLY POSITIVE NOTES
IN LOCAL CONTROL.
AND WHAT WE'RE FINDING IS THAT
ACTIVE REMOVAL PROGRAMS,
ON A REGULAR BASIS CAN BRING
THE LIONFISH NUMBERS DOWN
SIGNIFICANTLY TO THE POINT
THAT THEY'RE NOT REALLY
IMPACTING THE SYSTEM.
AND I THINK WHEN WE LOOK LONG
TERM AND LOOK INTO THE FUTURE,
WHAT WE'RE HOPING FOR IS TO
MINIMIZE THOSE POPULATIONS,
AT LEAST IN KEY AREAS,
AND ALLOW NATURE SOME TIME
TO COME UP WITH ITS OWN
BIO-CONTROL MECHANISMS
OR, AT THE LEAST, BY SOME
TIME FOR NEW TECHNOLOGIES
THAT MAY BE ABLE TO AFFECT
CHANGE ON A MUCH BROADER SCALE.

The narrator says SCUBA DIVERS
AND COMPETITIVE DERBIES
HELP TO SUPPRESS
LIONFISH NUMBERS.
BUT TO MANAGE THEIR EXPLOSIVE
GROWTH, MOST PEOPLE AGREE
THAT SOME FORM OF COMMERCIAL
FISHERY NEEDS TO BE CONSIDERED.
LOBSTER FISHERMEN ARE FINDING
THAT LIONFISH ARE ATTRACTED
TO BAIT AND ARE SNEAKING
INTO THEIR LOBSTER TRAPS.

The caption changes to "Gary Nichols. Nichols Seafood."

Gary is in his fifties, with short graying hair and a goatee. He wears black shorts, a white T-shirt and a beige cap.

Gary says YOU WANT TO SEE SOME
LIONFISH, HERE YOU GO.
I NEVER SAW A LIONFISH
IN MY LIFE
UNTIL ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO.
I THINK WE CAUGHT 32.
WE REPORTED EACH ONE.
IT WAS A BIG DEAL TO US
TO GET A LIONFISH.
I THINK I GOT THE WORLD'S RECORD
AT THE TIME WHICH ENDED UP BEING
LIKE 32 LIONFISH IN A SEASON.
BY THE SECOND SEASON, WE WERE
UP TO AS MANY AS, PROBABLY
50 A DAY OF LIONFISH
IN OUR TRAPS.
AND WE STARTED SEEING THEM A
LITTLE MORE IN THE DEEP WATER SO
I SAID, "I'M GOING TO TAKE THESE
AROUND TO THE RESTAURANTS,"
SO WE CARRIED THEM UP AND DOWN
THE KEYS TO THE CHEFS
AT THE DIFFERENT RESTAURANTS
AND NOW IT'S STARTING TO EXPAND
TO OTHER RESTAURANTS.
I SOLD ABOUT 6,000 POUNDS OF
LIONFISH LAST YEAR OFF THE BOAT,
AT SIX DOLLARS A POUND.
SO IT BECAME A PRETTY LUCRATIVE
LITTLE ENTERPRISE.
THE LIONFISH ARE CO-EXISTING
WITH THE LOBSTER OBVIOUSLY,
BECAUSE WE'RE FISHING
FOR LOBSTER,
WE'RE NOT FISHING FOR LIONFISH.
AT LEAST WE'RE ABLE
TO MARKET THESE LIONFISH.
THERE MUST BE JUST A MILLION
OF THEM BECAUSE I'M FISHING
MY TRAPS FROM 100 FEET OF WATER
OUT TO 300 FEET OF WATER
AND THE DEEPER I GO,
THE MORE LIONFISH I SEE.
THE DEEPER YOU GO, THE BIGGER
THEY SEEM TO BE ALSO.
IT'S PRETTY INCREDIBLE.

A woman grabs a lionfish and says MAN, THEY'RE
GETTING SO BIG!
MY GOD!

Gary says I DON'T KNOW
WHAT THEY'RE EATING
BUT THEY DISPLACE THE LOBSTER.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU GET THREE
OR FOUR LIONFISH IN A TRAP,
THE LOBSTER REALLY DON'T WANT
TO GO IN WITH THE LIONFISH.
YOU MIGHT GET A COUPLE
LIONFISH IN WITH THE LOBSTER
BUT THE LOBSTER DON'T WANT
TO GO IN WITH THEM LIVE FISH.
I DON'T KNOW WHY.
NATURE USUALLY TAKES CARE OF
ITSELF SO SOMEDAY, SOMEHOW,
SOMETHING WILL EAT THEM UP.
IF NOT, I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE
END RESULT'S GOING TO BE HERE.

Ted is in his fifties, with short gray hair and a goatee. He wears glasses, a black T-shirt and a green fishing hat.

Ted says YOU KNOW, BAD FOR THE REEF
BUT GREAT FOR THE RESTAURANT.
THIS WILL LOOK NICE
ON THE PLATE.

A woman says THAT ONE'S HUGE.

Ted says YOU KNOW, I'LL TAKE
EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT.
I SAID, WHAT I'VE GOT FROM YOU
ALREADY, IS ALREADY GONE.

The narrator says TED DREAVER OWNS
AND OPERATES THE CONCH HOUSE,
A POPULAR KEY LARGO
SEAFOOD RESTAURANT.
HE DISCOVERED THAT LIONFISH
WERE A TASTY ALTERNATIVE
TO HEAVILY STRESSED SPECIES
SUCH AS SNAPPER AND GROUPER.

A server says HERE WE ARE, DEAR.
LIONFISH TACOS.

A customer says THANK YOU.

The narrator says DEMAND IS BRISK, BUT
INITIALLY IT WAS DIFFICULT
TO CONVINCE CUSTOMERS TO EAT
THEM, SINCE MANY PEOPLE
THOUGHT THEY WERE POISONOUS.

The customer eats and says MMM.

Ted filets the lionfish and says ALL RIGHT, AND THIS
IS TODAY'S CATCH.
I GOT THESE FROM NICHOL SEAFOOD.
SO WHAT I LIKE TO DO IS I
ACTUALLY LIKE TO SKIN THESE FISH
BEFORE I FILLET THEM.
I ACTUALLY GO AHEAD
AND TRACE IT OUT AS TO WHAT
I WANT THE FILLET TO LOOK LIKE.
I KNOW WHAT I EXPECT TO GET.
TURN IT OVER TO THE CHEF.
SO THIS SKIN PULLS OFF
VERY NICELY.
THIS IS GOING TO BE THE FILLET
THAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR
RIGHT HERE.
WORK THIS OFF HERE.
AH, THE PEOPLE LOVE THIS FISH.
THIS FISH IS A NICE, MILD,
VERY SIMILAR TO HOGFISH
WHICH IS ONE OF THE LOCAL
DELICACIES DOWN HERE.
CUT OFF THOSE BONES.
AND THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE
LOOKING FOR, JUST A NICE,
A NICE FILLET RIGHT HERE.

The caption changes to "Anil Didier. Conch House Chef."

Anil is in his forties, with short wavy brown hair. He wears a black chef's coat and a black cap.

He says THIS FISH HERE HAS
A VERY NICE TASTE TO IT.
EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT COME
IN HERE THEY ALL TALK ABOUT
THIS IS THE BEST FISH
THEY EVER HAVE.
LET'S SAY I HAVE 40 POUNDS,
LESS THAN A DAY, IT'S GONE.
YOU KNOW, WE ALWAYS HAVE
PEOPLE COMING BACK FOR MORE.
SO THIS ONE IS READY TO GO.

The caption changes to "Jonathan Dreaver. Conch House."

Jonathan is in his thirties, with short straight blond hair and a goatee and he wears a black T-shirt.

He says THERE'S A LOT
OF PEOPLE WHO ARE CONFUSED
ABOUT LIONFISH
WHEN THEY COME IN.
THEY ACTUALLY ARE
SCARED TO EAT IT.
THEY'VE GOT FEARS
BUILT UP ON SOMETHING.
A LOT OF PEOPLE ACTUALLY
SAY LIONFISH IS POISONOUS.
OH, THEY WOULD NEVER
EAT THIS FISH.
IT'S NOT POISONOUS AT ALL.
IT'S ACTUALLY VENOMOUS
AND VENOMOUS IS HARMLESS
WHEN DIGESTED.
BUT IT'S ACTUALLY THE QUILLS
THAT HOLD THE VENOM,
NOT THE FILLETS THEMSELVES,
NOT THE MEAT.
THE MEAT
REALLY WHITE,
REALLY MILD.
DELICIOUS, DELICIOUS FISH
AND ABSOLUTELY HARMLESS.
THE REVIEWS ARE AMAZING
EVERY TIME.

A customer eats the food and says MMM.
[CAMERA CLICKS]
[WATER GURGLES]

Lad says IF THERE'S A SILVER
LINING TO THIS LIONFISH ISSUE,
AND A WEAKNESS IN
LIONFISH THEMSELVES,
IT'S THAT THEY TASTE GREAT.
AND THEY ARE COMMONLY EATEN
IN THEIR NATIVE RANGE,
THEY'RE JUST NOT ENCOUNTERED
VERY FREQUENTLY.
SO CAPITALIZING ON THAT, WE
REALIZE THAT GETTING LIONFISH
INTO THE MARKET PROVIDES
INCENTIVE FOR FISHERMAN
TO GO OUT AND REMOVE THE FISH.

The narrator says WHILE IT'S GENERALLY
AGREED THE LIONFISH INVASION
IS GRAVE NEWS FOR THE REGION,
SOME PEOPLE SEE IT
AS AN OPPORTUNITY.

The caption changes to "Pete ?Netdoc? Murray. Scubaboard.com."
Pete is in his fifties, with short gray hair and a stubble. He wears a blue polo T-shirt.

Pete says WHAT PEOPLE HAVE FAILED
TO SEE IS HOW THIS IS REALLY
IMPACTING SCUBA BECAUSE
IT'S NOT ALL NEGATIVE.
THIS HAS REALLY PUT A FOCUS
ON SCUBA AND ON SCUBA DIVERS
IN A WHY I HAVEN'T
SEEN IN A WHILE.
RATHER THAN US BEING ALWAYS
TAUGHT NOT TO HURT THE
ENVIRONMENT, NOT TO TOUCH
THE CORAL, NOT TO TOUCH THIS,
THEY'RE ASKING US TO GO OUT
AND KILL THESE FISH.
THEY'RE ACTUALLY ASKING US
TO GO AND SLAY STUFF
AND ENVIRONMENTALS NEVER
ASK YOU TO KILL STUFF.
THEY NEVER WANT YOU
TO TOUCH ANYTHING.
THEY WANT YOU TO ALWAYS KEEP IT.
BUT WE GET TO KILL IT.
WE GET TO EAT IT.
AND THERE'S NO LIMITS.
THERE'S NOTHING THAT STOPS US
FROM WHATEVER WE NEED TO DO
TO GET RID OF THIS CRITTERS.
NOW, WILL THAT MAKE AN IMPACT?
PROBABLY NOT.

Karrie says LIONFISH
ARE HERE TO STAY.
WE'VE NEVER SAID THAT WE HOPE TO
ERADICATE THEM BECAUSE BASICALLY
THE OCEAN CURRENTS
ARE LIKE A CONVEYOR BELT,
IT'S JUST GOING TO CONTINUE
TO BRING THEM.
I TELL PEOPLE THAT LIONFISH ARE
PART OF THE FLORIDA KEYS STORY.

Lad says LIONFISH REALLY ARE
A BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL
ORNATE FISH,
IN THEIR NATIVE RANGE.
BUT HERE IN THE WIDER CARIBBEAN,
THEY DON'T BELONG
AND THEY ARE CAUSING
VERY SEVERE PROBLEMS.
AND THIS IS A PROBLEM
WE KNOW THAT WE STARTED,
IT WAS INTRODUCED BY MAN,
AND IT'S REALLY GOING TO BE
UP TO US TO ADDRESS THIS.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Narration, Robert Henderson.

Produced by Erin Skillen and Hilary Pryor.

Produced in association with Discovery World.

Copyright 2012, May Street Productions.


Watch: Ep. 1 - Toxic Invaders