November 25, 2020

Restaurants and watersports operators to partner for major lionfish culling effort

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cayman-lionfish-TYSawyer1807Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; 25 February 2013.  Calling all restaurants and watersports companies! We need you to partner up for the first annual Fosters Food Fair Earth Month Lionfish Tournament, which will take place April 26-27, 2013. Registration is available online at www.cita.ky/lionfishtournament2013.

‘Beautiful, healthy reefs are critical to our dive tourism in the Cayman Islands,’ states Jane van der Bol, executive director for the Cayman Islands Tourism Association ‘By pairing watersports operators and their clients with local restaurants that want to serve lionfish, this event aims to create a self-fulfilling supply and demand situation for this delicious fish. In the process, Cayman’s marine environment benefits!’

How the tournament will work:

•          Restaurants sponsor a culling team with a CI $300 investment (each restaurant sponsor will receive 75% of the fish that is caught by their culling team)

•          Restaurant sponsors and watersports operators team up to put together a culling team of six licensed cullers (members of the public need to contact their favorite dive operator to register as a culler. Courses are available prior to the tournament through local dive operators).

•          Cullers go with their watersports operator during the 24-hour time period from 5pm on Friday, April 26—5pm on Saturday, April 27th

•          A weigh in will take place at each watersport operator, with prizes awarded at each weigh in for:

o          overall prize for the winning restaurant (largest catch)

o          biggest lionfish (in length)

o          largest cull in weight

o          smallest lionfish (in length)

•          Fish will go to the sponsor restaurants (75% of their sponsored team’s catch) and Fosters Food Fair (25% of each team’s catch)

The goal is to cull lionfish from local reefs as a part of efforts to fight the unprecedented numbers of this invasive species in local waters. Organizers also aim to get diners out to visit their favorite participating restaurant and enjoy a great culinary experience that showcases a variety of creative ways that lionfish can be enjoyed. It’s a win-win for the environment, the divers and the diners, bringing everyone together as a community in this continuing battle against the lionfish invasion.

Foster’s Food Fair has supported community lionfish hunts for more than a year, with an initial grant of CI $20,000 to CITA to help encourage operators to cull lionfish. The fish were then sold in the seafood department at Foster’s stores following the culling events. The fish sold out almost every time Foster’s received a shipment from one of their sponsored culling events, which shows that the general public is eager to enjoy this fish as part of their at-home meals!

For full details and information about the registration for restaurants and watersports companies, visit www.cita.ky/lionfishtournament2013. Members of the public are encouraged to contact their watersports operator of choice to register their participation.

CITA Background:

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) was formed in March 2001, through an amalgamation of the Cayman Tourism Alliance and the Cayman Islands Hotel and Condominium Association. The CITA represents tourism businesses from all sectors, including hotels, condominiums and villas, watersports operators, restaurants, attractions, airlines, tourism transport providers, cruise sector businesses and allied tourism service providers. The CITA represents over 200 tourism businesses and is active in the areas of industry and government relations, marketing and events, industry development and education.

PHOTO CUTLINE:

Lionfish beware: Cayman’s restaurants and watersports operators are teaming up for a special Earth Month lionfish hunt in April, where teams of cullers will go out and catch as many lionfish as possible in a 24-hour tournament.

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