Lionfish hunt yield results

POSTED: 05/15/12 11:48 AM

St. Maarten – Already twenty seven invasive and poisonous lionfish have been collected by local dive companies Ocean Explorers, Scuba Fun, Dive Safaris, Aqua Mania, Blue Bubbles and Caribbean Dive College for the 2012 Lionfish Hunt which started earlier this month.

‘We really appreciate how the dive shops are doing their best in helping to control the invasion of the venomous lionfish. The involvement of divers and local fishermen are essential in saving our local reef species and maintaining the dive and fishing industry on the island”, said Tineke Van Bussel, lionfish researcher at the Nature Foundation and organizer of the event.

The competition is scheduled to end on May 21 with various prizes to be won from businesses as diverse as The Scuba Shop, Vanity First, Ray’s Jewelry, Tommy Hilfiger store, Endless Summer and Restaurants Mist the Carib, Chesterfields and Oualichi.

Lionfish are an invasive venomous fish that can inflict a painful and sometimes fatal sting. Lionfish are usually found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans but were introduced into the Atlantic thru the aquarium trade. Native fish species don’t recognize the Lionfish as a threat so they are unable to defend themselves against it. In other places were lionfish were spotted there are hardly any snappers and grouper left because those are the type of fish the lionfish likes to eat.

The Nature Foundation encourages fishermen, divers and all those who may have captured or sighted lionfish to report their catch or sightings to the Nature Foundation at 527 04 90 or via email at manager@naturefoundationsxm.org.

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