Bonaire is a small Dutch island off the coast of Venezuela. The coastline is a marine sanctuary with amazing coral reefs and shipwrecks. It is a beautiful diving destination for divers of all levels with access to shore and boat diving. The first lionfish was spotted in 2009.
My daughter Taylor Muller, who is also a professional PADI diver, and I dove with the first Bonaire ranger from the US in 2010, thru Captain Dons Habitat. We did not use spears then but used nets to catch the lionfish and put them in giant plastic bags. After we caught the Lionfish, we took them to other Bonaire park rangers and the fish were measured and dissected to see what was in their stomachs. We were one of the first Lionfish hunters in Bonaire!
Spearfishing has been banned on Bonaire since 1971, but the invasive lionfish can be hunted by residents and only with a special spear and permit. All other spearfishing is prohibited in the Bonaire National Marine Park. The spear to be used is called the E.L.F., Eliminate Lionfish. Its purpose is to cause minimal impact on the reef while spearing the lionfish.
The only legal way for us to hunt lionfish on Bonaire was through a dive operator and only when using marine park authorized spears. Later dives in 2014, we did through Gooodive Dive Shop. Gooodive Dive Shop at the Resort: https://www.gooodresort.com/en/bonaire/diving