Ideas about using OpenROV to eliminate lionfish?



The CEO of iRobot has a prototype lionfish hunting ROV that electrocutes the fish. No muss no fuss. Salt water conducts the charge. Voltage and current have not been revealed. The fish could be blinded by lasers, or cooked with focused ultrasound. A high powered laser could burn a hole, but this expensive equipment.
The real solution might be to catch, sterilize, and release the male lionfish. Commercial and sport fishermen will benefit most from Lionfish extermination. Maybe they would like to finance the project.


Many lionfish are found far from coral reefs.


Check this out.
Pneumatic Lionfish Spear Prototype #1:
Pneumatic Spear Prototype 2:

We are also designing a pneumatic slurp gun.


After watching a few youtube videos of divers spearing lion-fish that are huddled together in masses, first of all it looks like a really satisfying task, and second it could totally work efficiently and safely if there are ROV’s doing this. While I remain skeptical of any aggressive conservation approach (only to scrutinize potentially harmful tactics), I can definitely get behind this.
Can’t say I’m an expert on the lion fish issue, but I can offer my input on the capabilities of our ROV technology. I’ll take your word over mine on the issue.


Thanks Nima! Here are example sites off of Pensacola, Florida that would make good spots for ROV harvesting:



What about developing a way to inject some type of poison into the lionfish? The Trident could be an agile enough platform to accomplish this. I also like the idea of using computer vision technology to help the ROV operator zero in on the lionfish. Perhaps even have an autonomous ROV that can be “set loose” on the lionfish to make a dent in the population explosion. A boom with an injection system on the end of it would be simple enough to fabricate. I’m not sure what type of poison would be environmentally acceptable to use for this application. It seems like a speedier type of elimination method needs to be developed to really make an impact on the huge lionfish issue.


Yes, terrible idea. I’d say a better approach is to bait and harvest where populations are high. We do it to other fish, lol. Or introduce a mutation that causes all future offspring sterile.

The use of ROVs would have less of an impact as spear hunting divers. Which equates to about zero. The reproduction rate of lion fish is far higher than the number of people hunting them.

If you could economically incentivize the fishing industry to focus on lion fish, that would be the best way to go about it.


Hi Jim,

Thanks for weighing in on this issue. The idea of injecting lionfish using an ROV is not new and I think we should keep an open mind to any means of controlling the invasion. Here is the article that got me thinking about it.


Hi all,

Injection is certainly possible. One thing I thought of was a needle w co2 injection. Harmless if it leaked, but lethal injected into a lionfish. (Side note: wonder if they could then float to the surface and be collected for dinner?!)

Here’s a link to a story on an AUv that injects crown of thorn starts in Australia. However these move considerably slower than a lionfish!



Lionfish cannot be eradicated anymore. They’re too many already. Just like raccoons in Europe. Nature always adapts.


Many have been aware for a while that we can not win this battle…but that does not mean we should not make effort to slow down their progress as much as possible, so the reefs have some chance of survival. Hunters enjoy the challenge, robotics are still in progress and I am still working on the ultimate Lf trap design. There is too much at stake to give up on this effort.


Just some thoughts I have been considering, has anyone considered using a co2 system from a repeating pellet gun to fire a dart. The dart could contain a water reactive compund such as calcium carbide that would produce a volume of gas in the fish that has been shot and float it to the surface where it is retrieved. This would enable succesive shots. Possibly a dart with a self inflating balloon could be designed for easier retrival.


Sorry to put a damper on this but the most effective way is to get close and personal.
Scuba, speargun and killer instinct.
I will kill more lionfish that way in 45 min than you will in 4 hours with a rov…