The Island School is a study abroad program located in The Bahamas, which strives towards teaching students how to live sustainably and in tune with the environment around them. During my junior year in high school, I spent a semester on the 95% sustainable campus. The Island School works with the researchers next door at the Cape Eleuthera Institute, which has worked on multiple sustainability projects including aquaponics, aqua culture, and efforts to reduce the invasive Lionfish species in the Bahamian waters.
While I was at the island school, my research group focused on solving the Lionfish problem in the Bahamas. Lionfish are native to Indo-Pacific waters, but within the past ten years, Lionfish have been released into Bahamian waters and have thrived due to a lack of natural predators. In turn, Lionfish have spread south and have interrupted the Bahamian ecosystems, which serves as a large problem for the long term health of the Bahamian oceans. Lionfish are also extremely protective over their territory and can sting potential predators or humans with the venom in their long spikes. Therefore, catching Lionfish is a very difficult task, if not done carefully and with the correct equipment.
My research group found that once we caught the Lionfish, we could strip off the spikes and cook the fish to produce a very tasty meal.through our efforts, we were able to spread the word about the invasive Lionfish, and teach fisherman and Bahamian residents how to catch and cook these fish. The Lionfish, therefore, have become a plentiful, sustainable, and cheap food option for people living in the Bahamas, while eatting these Lionfish is beneficial to the Bahamian oceans as well.
To learn more about the sustainability projects going on at the Island school today, visit http://www.ceibahamas.org/sustainable-food.aspx!