Nature Foundation Launches Second Lionfish Derby

Encourages all to register to take part for cash prizes

The St. Maarten Nature Foundation will be launching its second Lionfish Derby during the months of September and October where participants are asked to register with the Nature Foundation before the thirteenth of September in order to win cash prizes for most lionfish caught as well as special prizes for largest and smallest lionfish caught. 

Caption: Ocean Explorers Dive Center, the winners of the 2012 Nature Foundation Lionfish Derby with Lionfish Researcher Tineke van Bussel

The aim of the derby is to get dive operators and registered divers involved in helping to control the lionfish to in order to protect the local coral reef ecosystem. There is a need for experienced divers and local fishermen to control the lionfish for the protection of our local reef species. The Nature Foundation looks forward in having enthusiastic dive instructors take part in the derby in order to help with the Man of War Shoal Marine Park. Fishermen are also continuously contributing to the control of the lionfish by trapping the animal in offshore areas.

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 do not 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. Last week the Nature Foundation caught lionfish very shallow by Sunset Beach Bar in Maho.

The Nature Foundation encourages fishermen, divers and all those who may want to take part in the 2013 Lionfish Derby to register via email at ma*****@na*****************.org or ad***@na*****************.org or by calling 5444267 during business hours.