Ocean Explorers wins lionfish hunt

POSTED: 06/5/12 11:59 AM

Nature Foundation Researcher and Lionfish Hunt 2012 Coordinator Tineke van Bussel with staff of Ocean Explorers Dive Center

St. Maarten – Ocean Explorers Dive Center has been declared the winner of lionfish Hunt 2012, which officially came to an end on Saturday – World Ocean Day. Second prize went to Aqua Mania, while Blue Bubbles and Scuba Fun shared third place. Blue Bubbles took home the prize for catching the biggest lionfish and Ocean Explorers got the prize for catching the smallest lionfish.

The aim of the contest was to get dive shops involved in helping to control the lionfish to protect our local reef. Prizes were donated by Artist Johanny Dietvorst van Bussel, The Scuba Shop, Vanity First, Ray’s Jewellery, Tommy Hilfiger, Endless Summer, Mist of the Carib, Chesterfields and Oualichi.
“We need experienced divers and local fishermen to control the lionfish for protection of our local reef species. We really appreciate that enthusiastic dive instructors want to help within the Man of War Shoal Marine Park and are happy with the positive responses by the dive tourists. We hope that dive shops are willing to continue lionfish hunting to have a continuous impact on the lionfish distribution,” Lionfish researcher at the Nature Foundation and hunt organiser Tineke van Bussel said,

Fishermen are also continuously contributing to the control of the lionfish by trapping the animal in offshore areas. The skipper of the fishing vessel Sabrina brought in nearly a dozen lionfish over the weekend.
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 through the aquarium trade. Native fish species don’t recognize the lionfish as a threat so they are unable to defend themselves against it. Hardly any snappers and grouper are left in other places where lionfish were spotted 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 by calling 5270490 or via email at manager@naturefoundationsxm.org.

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