The 2016 Winter Lionfish Derby was held from January 1 through January 30, wrapping up with a party and award ceremony following reports of 176 lionfish and 155 entered into the derby.
More than 30 people participated, representing a five times increase from participation in last year’s event.
Most of the lionfish were caught along the south shore between Watch Hill Park and the Coopers Island Reserve, with many also caught at Fort St. Catherine; a few others were caught near the oil docks and near Whalebone Bay.
Chris Cabral won the freediving category with 55 fish, the largest of which was 18 inches and the smallest of which was 10 inches. James Adderley won second place with 22 lionfish, while Mark Outerbridge won third with 21.
Spencer Wood won first place in the scuba category with 11, while Adrienne Smatt and Will Gillett tied for second with four, and Warren de Klerk [Bermuda Sub-Aqua Club] took third with three. Awards were also given to Michael Sinclair and Matt Hayden for the most diverse and interesting stomach contents in a single lionfish, respectively.
A spokesperson said, “Our goals were to show that we can make a huge impact on the lionfish population by hunting them through the winter when they are far more accessible after coming inshore and shallow; to thank the active lionfish hunters for their consistent effort that is making a big difference in this battle; and to clear up the misconception we hear from the general public that sometimes think the lionfish are only found in deep water.
“The derby was run by Corey Eddy and Weldon Wade, and supported financially by Bermuda Ocean Explorers and the Bermuda Lionfish Task Force. Groundswell, who runs the summer lionfish tournament, helped with promotion and also gave a bit of cash that went toward the hoodies.
“BUEI was kind enough to offer their Overlook Lounge where we held the wrap-up party and awards ceremony. Harbourfront prepared lionfishcakes, lionfish and chips, and lionfish chowder. It was all incredible.
“Cash prizes were donated by the Task Force. Other prizes were donated by Tara Cassidy at La Garza, Marine Locker, and Alex Davidson.”
Lionfish cakes, photo courtesy of Weldon Wade
Earbone canvas, photo courtesy of Corey Eddy
Crowd, photo courtesy of Weldon Wade
Lionfish and chips, photo courtesy of Weldon Wade
Prizes, photo courtesy Adrienne Smatt
Free diving winners, photo courtesy of Adrienne Smatt