International Lionfish Hunter
I am Roger J. Muller, Jr., from Hoboken, New Jersey, and although it doesn’t seem like the expected place for a Lionfish hunter to reside, it has been my home base throughout all my adventures. I am an experienced International Lionfish Hunter and professional scuba instructor with both the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) that has tracked and hunted the fish throughout North America, many times in partnership with local organizations. I kill Lionfish to restore the natural balance in these areas and prevent the marine animal from causing any more destruction to the coral reef ecosystems I have dove in for over 20 years.
To give you a little background on myself, my day job (because we all need one of those…) is actually as an insurance agent. I know what you’re thinking here – insurance is a pretty boring career choice – and you’re right – which is why I had to look for a little more extracurricular fun when I wasn’t at work. Although I’m a business person by trade, I’ve always loved science and conservation and actually graduated with an Environmental Science Degree with honors from Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ. After school, I went into my family business, Muller Insurance of Hoboken, NJ, in order to continue my father and grandfather’s legacy and serve my community as they had for over 112 years.
The Road to Lionfish Hunting
After my first scuba dive in 1998, I immediately fell in love with the underwater environment and the sport of scuba diving. After completing over 111 diving certifications from PADI and NAUI, I became interested in the Lionfish issue after seeing and hearing about the epidemic seven years ago in Bonaire. After that initial exposure, I took a handful of Lionfish training courses, including the SDI Hunter / Collector Diver, DAN & NAUI Hazardous Marine Life, PADI Lionfish Awareness and Elimination, Lionfish Hunting Specialty, and Invasive Lionfish Tracker Specialty courses. Hunting Lionfish has been so fun for me and scuba dive with a mission each time I get into the water. Today, I have over 1,500 Lionfish kills! Last year I became a field reporter for Lionfish University who is dedicated to preserving our oceans, reefs, native fish populations and raising awareness of the importance of maintaining our fragile ecosystems.
Outstanding Achievement Award
In 2016 Drew Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of PADI Worldwide, presented me with the President’s Club, Outstanding Achievement Award for my outstanding dedication, commitment and achievement in diving and lifelong diver education with 90 PADI Certifications.
Besides loving to spear and remove as many Lionfish from the ocean that I can, I am a big fisherman and a tagger for the American Littoral Society. During the 2017 fishing season, I had one of my best years fishing in New Jersey, catching a 90 pound Wahoo, 50 pound Bull Shark, Bluefish, Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and a few 35-pound Striped Bass in the Hudson River. I’ve also caught many Black Sea Bass, Fluke, and Porgies in this area as well. I am also a Lifetime member of the Hudson River Fishing Association (HRFA).