Placencia Lionfish tournament- A success

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

 

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Press Release-Oceana, July 1st-

Cashing in on lionfish, a threat to our young fisheries

“Lionfish are a voracious predator of juvenile fish and thus a threat to our fisheries.  So, Oceana in Belize had no problem teaming up with the Placencia Producers Cooperative Society and the Southern Environmental Association (SEA) for the Lionfish Tournament,” states Oceana Vice President for Belize Mrs. Audrey Matura-Shepherd.  Audrey was speaking of last Friday’s Lionfish Tournament which was a prelude to the annual Placencia Lobsterfest held over the weekend.

Oceana VP Audrey Matura Shepherd delivers 1st Prize to Winners Turtle Inn

Oceana VP Audrey Matura Shepherd delivers 1st Prize to Winners Turtle Inn

Three teams took park in the Lionfish Tournament, landing 599 of the invasive predator totaling 321 pounds.  First prize of $1,500 for the most lionfish (250) went to Turtle Inn.  Splash Dive Shop landed the biggest lionfish weighting 744 grams (1.64 pounds) to win the $800 2nd prize as well as the smallest one weighing just 10g (0.35 oz) to win the $500 3rd prize.  The Placencia Coop fielded the third team and had to settle for consolations prizes of Blue Venture T-shirts.

Shepherd gives 2nd & 3rd Prizes to Splash Dive Shop

Shepherd gives 2nd & 3rd Prizes to Splash Dive Shop

Each team comprised five members, who dived up to 60 feet inside the protected areas of the southern barrier reef off the Placencia Peninsula, including Gladden Split and the Silk Caye Marine Reserve.

Blue Venture, SEA & TIDE undertook a lionfish population density survey before and after the Tournament to determine its effectively in reducing lionfish numbers.  Lionfish are not native to Belize and thus have no natural predators.

Oceana, SEA, the Placencia Coop and Blue Venture all encourage the removal of lionfish, which are safe to eat, its flavor comparing well to both snapper and grouper.

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