For the past 12 years, Bubba has been the resident 6 foot barracuda known for his long, sharp teeth and his propensity for hanging around the swim platforms of boats visiting the Exuma Land and Sea Park, begging for handouts. During one of his latest feeding frenzies, he wolfed down a human foot. That the foot was until that moment attached to a living leg was irrelevant. Bubba's policy was to bite first, asks questions later. Park wardens lured him in with weiners, and gave him a spear in the head. Good bye, Bubba. Warden Chris tells us there are several contenders vying for Bubba's place in the folklore of the park. Not to worry, tourists can once more pit themselves against the wild, risking life and limb in the process. If the park doesn't give them what they need, they can always go swim with the sharks at Compass Cay.
Lion Fish are native to the Pacific Ocean and have no natural enemnies in the waters of the Caribbean. This fish has a beautiful array of striped fins and tail, each ending in a poisonous spur--a mortal danger to small victims, an extremely painful encounter for larger prey. One man told us from first hand experience that he entered "a world of pain" for 5 hours after contact with a small one.
Many efforts to irradicate this menace to reef life have been tried. A recent fishing tournament in Nassau brought in over 900 fish in one day...a drop in the bucket. The Exuma Land and Sea Park tried issuing one-day permits for divers to spear them, but because this liberty was abused by divers too sorely tempted to bag a tasty snapper while they were at it, this practice has been scrapped. We met Chef Paul, on a visit to Compass Cay, who showed us how to fillet the beast. His aim is to teach the world to EAT this tender, delicate-fleshed fish. Supposedly they are just as delicious as the now endangered Hog Fish, or more so. Nothing like creating a taste for something to send it reeling towards the endangered list!!