REEF Lionfish Trips Archive

REEF works with partners in government, academic and aquarium institutions and the dive industry to conduct lionfish invasion research expeditions. Each project has a slightly different focus and addresses specific questions related to lionfish impacts. Each project is lead by REEF staff as well as guest researchers, aquarium staff and or government representatives.

This list is an archive of past Lionfish Research Trips. To see upcoming trips, click here.

January 26 - February 2, 2008 -- Aquacat with the NADC

Join us this week with the National Aquarium in Washington DC's annual Bahamas Conservation Week. REEF staff along with staff from the National Aquarium and Baltimore Aquarium will lead lionfish research as well as fish identification, mooring buoy and Diadema (sea urchin) projects aboard the 100' dive vessel Aquacat. For more info contact Lad Akins ( , Andy Dehart ( or Aquacat Cruises (888 327-9600)

February 9 - 15, 2008 -- Cat Ppalu

This week aboard the sailing vessel Cat Ppalu will focus on data gathering and observational behavior in and around Eleuthra (weather permitting). The trip will be led by REEF Director of Special Projects Lad Akins and will have a maximum of 12 participants. During the week of diving, we'll tag and track lionfish as well as collect specimens for researchers in the Bahamas and in the US. We'll also conduct new activity observations to determine when and how lionfish are most active. For more information contact Lad Akins ( or Cat Ppalu Cruises (

March 8 - 15, 2008 -- Aquacat

During this week on the Aquacat, we'll dive to recapture tagged fish as well as conduct fish ID and lionfish surveys. Collecting for researchers will also be a focus during these dives in the Exuma Cays. This project will also provide some time on shore and in the mangroves near Shroud Cay where we documented the first lionfish in mangrove habitats in 2007. For more information contact Lad Akins ( or Aquacat Cruises (888 327-9600)

May 11 - 17, 2008 -- Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas

In February of 2007 we collected 20 fish from the reefs off SW New Providence. When we returned in November we collected 216 in the same time frame! We'll return again on this project to recapture and measure tagged fish as well as document the effects they are having on native fish populations. This project is land-based. We'll stay at the Wyndham on Cable Beach and dive with Stuart Cove with 2 tank dives each morning and lectures in the evening. We'll also survey shipwrecks and have an optional dive at one of the shark feeding sites for those interested. Who knows what we'll find! For more info contact Lad Akins ( or Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas (800-879-9832).

September 14-20, 2008 -- Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas

We are returning once again to recapture and measure tagged fish as well as document the effects they are having on native fish populations. This project is land-based. We'll dive with Stuart Cove with 2 tank dives each morning and lectures in the evening. The focus of the week will be to document presence/absence of lionfish at specific sites near the west end of New Providence Island (Nassau), Bahamas. Working as part of a team, the divers will search for and collect previously tagged lionfish, collect and tag new specimens, document abundance of native reef fish at lionfish sites, help collect samples of lionfish for dissection to determine prey and reproduction, and learn about invasive species issues. Daily morning dives at Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas will be followed by hands on afternoon dissections, lectures and discussions. Andy Dehart, General Manager of the National Aquarium in Washington DC, Stephanie Green, researcher at Simon Fraser University, and Lad Akins, Director of Special Projects at REEF, will all bring their perspectives and expertise to the project and be integral parts of the lionfish team. The project cost is $914.00 per person double occupancy and includes hotel accommodations at the Orange Hill Beach Inn and five days of two tank morning dives. For more information or to book space, please contact Pam Christman at Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas at 800-879-9832 or For more info on REEF’s lionfish work, contact Lad Akins ( or (305) 942-7333.


January 17-24, 2009 -- Dive Provo -- REEF Field Survey/Lionfish Expedition

REEF Lionfish Research Program Director, Lad Akins, will lead this joint REEF Field Survey/Lionfish Research Expedition. During the week, participants will experience first-hand the explosive expansion of this invasive species. After witnessing the lionfish invasion in the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos government is very concerned about the recent invasion into their waters and the subsequent effects on their stunning reefs and marine life. Participants on this project will conduct REEF fish surveys at prime dive sites throughout Provo to document lionfish, as well as assist with field research. Presentations will include fish identification, as well as information about the Indo-Pacific Lionfish and how it came to be established in the western Atlantic region, the Lionfish research that REEF and our partners are conducting, and what divers can do about it. $1,184 per person for double occupancy in a Junior Suite and 6 days of 2-tank dives with Dive Provo. Click here to find out more or contact REEF's dedicated travel consultant at Caradonna -- 1-877-295-7333 (REEF),

June 13 - 20, 2009 -- Lionfish Invasion Special Charter With Peter Hughes in Belize

Peter Hughes Diving is teaming with REEF in this very important and urgent matter - invading lionfish. With these nasty and unwanted critters now being found in Belize, this project will help spread the word and enlist participating divers in the search for lionfish. The package includes the regular 7 night Sun Dancer II all-inclusive package PLUS special seminars on the lionfish problem by Lad Akins. There will be a $100 tax deductible matching funds donation that will be added to the charter price. Peter Hughes Diving will be matching each $100 guest donation, so REEF will receive $200 per participant to help support REEF's critical research and outreach programs.

**BOOKING INFORMATION -- For those interested in joining the June 13-20 project aboard the Sun Dancer, please view details at or contact Peter Hughes Diving directly at (800) 9-DANCER.

Click here to view a flyer for this trip.


Design by Joanne Kidd, development by Ben Weintraub