Lionfish tournament to help battle fishy pest
(CNS): a local supermarket and the private sector tourism association are teaming up to host the first Lionfish Tournament in Cayman, which will take place on Earth Day. The goal is to cull lionfish from local reefs as a part of the efforts to fight the invasive species, which is now prevalent in Cayman waters and threatening the native marine life and diversity of the reefs. CITA and Foster's food Fair are hoping to partner with restaurants and watersports companies so that the fish caught in the tournament can then be served up for dinners in the evenings of the two day event. Organizers hope people will visit their favorite participating restaurant and enjoy the variety of ways lionfish can be enjoyed.
“Beautiful, healthy reefs are critical to our dive tourism in the Cayman Islands," said Jane van der Bol, executive director for the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA). “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.”
Restaurants are being asked to sponsor a culling team with a CI $300 investment and then each restaurant sponsor will receive 75% of the fish that is caught by their team, with the remaining 25% going to Foster's. Sponsors and watersports operators team up to put together a culling team of six licensed cullers. Then during the 24-hour time period from 5pm on Friday, 26 April to 5pm on Saturday, 27 April the cullers hit the oceans and hunt for the pesky fish.
A weigh in will take place at the end of the tournament with prizes awarded for the winning restaurant with the largest catch, the biggest lionfish in length and the largest cull in weight as well as the smallest lionfish in length.
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 is sold in the seafood department at Foster’s stores. Almost every time Fosters has received a delivery of lionfish it has immediately sold out, demonstrating that Cayman is keen to eat the fish. Given that over fishing works, the goal now is to get everyone to pick the pest as their fish of choice and begin to rid Cayman waters of the serious threat.
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.
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