St. Maarten Nature Foundation extends Lionfish Derby

POSTED: 10/12/11 4:46 PM

St. Maarten – The St. Maarten Nature Foundation will be extending its first Lionfish Derby to November 6, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. due to various requests by fishermen and dive operators. The weigh in will be done at the Nature Foundation office next to Island Water World in Cole Bay. This is the first such event planned by the Nature Foundation with subsequent derbies to be held in the future.

The derby was scheduled to end on October 9, but will now be extended in order to allow participants to bring in more of the specimens. The Lionfish Population has reached to a point where fishermen and dive operators have been capturing numerous invasive lionfish in waters surrounding St. Maarten.
“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. We were surprised by the number of people who wanted to participate so we decided to extend the period for another month,” Nature Foundation Marine Park Manager Tadzio Bervoets said.
There will be first, second and third place prizes for the most lionfish brought in, as well as 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 lionfish is an invasive species which was introduced into the Caribbean through the aquarium trade. The fish is a threat to local fisheries because they have the potential to destroy local fishing grounds and the economies which depend on them. The lionfish is also a venomous species which can inflict a painful sting, therefore the Nature Foundation requests that only persons used to handling the fish such as divers and fishermen take part in the derby. For further information please contact the Nature Foundation at 544-4267 or via email at manager@naturefoundationsxm.org.

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