During a routine lionfish hunting expedition, we came across a plethora of lionfish near some concrete artificial reef structure. We feverishly attempt to count the exact number, but our attempts prove futile. There are simply too many. After a brief moment of awe, it is time to get to work. While their beauty is unparalleled, their veracious appetite needs quelling immediately. Using one of the Zookeeper 36” pole spears with a paralyzer tip, we begin to pluck them off one by one. Unavoidably in the small crevices, our spear tips make contact with the artificial concrete structure. The sturdiness of the pole spear tip does not allow them to dull easily. Unfortunately, the sheer force of impact from the spear creates an unforeseen problem.
The repeated vibrations have cracked the welds of the barbs at their base. Eventually, one of the barbs is lost deep between the structures. Alas, the hunt must continue! Armed with only two barbs on my tip we attempt to remove as many as many lionfish as possible. A few more plucks and the second tip is now lost. Shortly after stuffing the last lionfish into my Zookeeper Lionfish Containment Unit, the last barb falls from my spear.
This problem will require the collective minds of the ZooKeeper engineering team. Perhaps, reinforcing the welds will endure the stress? Or, possibly some additional epoxy to absorb the shock? Finally, a eureka moment occurs! A simple yet elegant solution is developed.
One might have noticed the paralyzer tips have a new look to them. Two dimples at the base of each barb on the side of the tip. They are not only aesthetically pleasing but also completely functional. The dimples create just enough bend and pressure that the barbs remain in place, no matter the force. No lionfish is safe now! The new design has eliminated countless lionfish from the reefs in our waters. Not a single barb has been lost to the depths of the oceans.
A note on responsible hunting practices. We understand that lionfish love to hide in the hardest to reach places. One should exercise caution to avoid damaging any surrounding coral or other marine life. If possible, the best angle is to penetrate through the fish with nothing behind it. This will avoid puncturing any corals, sea sponges, or other marine life. The goal is to remove the invasive species and mitigate the damage and havoc they cause. We as divers must not cause more harm than good when removing lionfish from the reefs.
The future of lionfish ends with ZooKeeper, but the future of our oceans starts with ZooKeeper!