September 23, 2020

Lionfish cull most successful yet

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Bradley Johnson, Research Officer for the Department of Environment weighs in the cull’s catch

A massive 705 lionfish were culled this weekend in a competition held on Grand Cayman’s reef.

It’s a record number for a single tournament held here. True to the popular slogan for culling lionfish, “Kill ‘Em and Grill ‘Em”, the freshly caught fish were cooked by Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and served to the public to taste at the final weigh-in on Sunday.

“We are extremely pleased with the huge effort this weekend not only by all of the participants in the tournament but also by the organisers and sponsors,” said Bradley Johnson, Research Officer for the Department of Environment.

“With lionfish producing over 2 million eggs per year, this is an effort that needs to be maintained and these tournaments are a great way to keep our culling community active and excited.”

The sponsors included the Department of Environment (DOE), Ambassador Divers, Diamonds International, Home Gas, Vampt Motors, and Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink.

Prizes were awarded to the following teams – “Green Water” captured the smallest lionfish; Tiger Shark won for the largest lionfish, Aquaholics turned in the most number and the greatest overall weight prize went to The Mafia.

Prizes included a private dive charter from Ambassador Divers, jewellery from Diamonds International, an outdoor propane fryer from Home Gas, signed cookbooks from Michael’s Genuine, special vehicle servicing and detailing from Vampt Motors, and more.

The first 100 divers that checked in for the contest received the special edition commemorative lionfish culling tournament t-shirt from Ambassador Divers.

“Many of the frequented moored dive sites are now clean, thanks to the diligence and commitment of the local dive companies. However, these lionfish culling tournaments are very important because they require divers to think out of the box,” said Jason Washington, owner and operator of Ambassador Divers.

“To keep the lionfish population in check requires a willingness to dive areas off the beaten path, between sites and in places divers rarely go.”

The lionfish are an exotic species of fish that will destroy the delicate eco-system of our reefs if left unchecked by certified cullers.

To learn more about this invasive predator, and how you can help keep lionfish from destroying our reef, please continue to support these lionfish culling competitions and log onto the Cayman Islands Department of Environment website – www.doe.ky.

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