Nature Foundation hosting ‘Lionfish Derby’

POSTED: 09/21/11 12:54 PM

St. Maarten – The St. Maarten Nature Foundation will be hosting St. Maarten’s first Lionfish Derby on October 9 at 10:00 a.m. The event, which will be an ongoing exercise, is aimed at ridding the island’s waters of the fish which is not native to and could harm the island’s marine eco-system.
“We wanted to launch a small event where people in the fishing and diving communities can bring in their catch of lionfish caught on the Dutch side and receive a prize for their efforts from the Nature Foundation. In this way we wanted to reward those who have been helping St. Maarten’s Marine Ecosystem by catching lionfish and helping with the controlling of the invasion,” Nature Foundation Marine Park Manager Tadzio Bervoets said.

There will be first, second and third place prizes for the most lionfish brought in during the derby. There will also be a special prize for the largest and smallest fish caught. Prizes include a watch from Touch of Gold Jewelers, a signed painting by Lucia Trifan, a Coffee Table Book Reefs from Scubazoo International, and A case of wine donated by International Liquors and Tobacco Trading. The final weigh-in will be held on October 9 at the Nature Foundation office next to Island Water World in Cole Bay.
“The Nature Foundation requests that only persons used to handling the fish such as divers and fishermen take part in the derby,” Bervoets added.

The derby is being added to other ongoing efforts because the lionfish population has reached to a point where fishermen and dive operators have been regularly capturing numerous lionfish where they only occasionally caught one or two. Any further growth in the species could harm the local fisheries sector as lionfish have the potential to destroy local fishing grounds. The diving sector could also be affected because lion fish are a venomous species which can inflict a painful sting.
For further information contact the Nature Foundation at 54-44267 or via email at manager@naturefoundationsxm.org.

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