A record 150 permitted lionfish cullers competed in the 6th annual Groundswell Lionfish Tournament, a day-long contest to capture invasive lionfish on Bermuda’s reefs. After cullers landed their catch, the fish were given to attending scientists who weighed and collected samples of stomach contents and gonads, as well as fin clips for genetic analyses. These samples will be studied by scientists in Bermuda and other areas threatened by lionfish invasions to further a global understanding of lionfish ecology, physiology, reproduction, and distribution.
Since their introduction into the wild from the aquarium trade in the 1980s, lionfish have out-competed many native fish species at reefs in the Caribbean, Atlantic and, most recently, the Mediterranean, making them a global threat to marine ecosystems.
The Groundswell Lionfish Tournament operates under the slogan that people should “eat ‘em to beat ‘em” and, during the event on July 16th, fresh lionfish fillets were transformed into delicious dishes with a local flavor, including fish sandwiches, lionfish ceviche and fried lionfish nuggets.
“One method for fostering awareness and support for lionfish control technologies and policies has been to promote lionfish as a source of food for public consumption,” said Tim Noyes, a tournament organizer and research specialist in the Coral Reef Ecology and Optics Laboratory at BIOS. Noyes noted that 700 members of the public attended the tournament.
To read more about the tournament visit: http://www.royalgazette.com/news/article/20160718/record-breaking-lionfish-tournament
For more photos visit: http://www.bermynet.com/photos/album_view/2475