Groundswell Lionfish Tournament On July 22

July 18, 2017

The 2017 Groundswell Lionfish Tournament is set to be held on Saturday, July 22 at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences [BIOS] Ferry Reach, running from 2.30pm to 7.30pm, with weigh-in at 3.00pm.

A spokesperson said, “The event will include the lionfish handling demo, lionfish tasting, with buzz serving an assortment of lionfish prepared fresh in front of the crowd, Goslings bar, live music, DJ, kids’ arts and crafts, bouncy castle, information kiosks, and more, with all proceeds going toward lionfish research and culling efforts.

“Available merchandise will include t-shirts, tanks, kids t-shirts, tote bags and hats, with all proceeds go towards lionfish Research and Culling Efforts.

“This is a free family event if you’re not out on the water hunting we’d love to have family and friends show their support and come to the event.

“Each year we ask a local artist/designer to create the poster and T-shirt designs. This year’s beautiful design is done by Avarie Graham. We have been really lucky to work with such talented people and this year has been no exception.

“Please support the cause by purchasing one of our awesome shirts, hats or [new this year] tote bags. We even have sizes for children as well. Please come to the event to purchase as items sell out fast. All participants receive a tournament shirt free with their registration.

|Huge thanks to our awesome sponsors, Gorhams, Hiscox Reinsurance, Goslings and BUZZ, Hannover Life Re and Chubb Ltd.

“Groundswell, a small group of concerned citizens, started the lionfish tournament in 2009 to help spread awareness of the invasive lionfish that had begun to show up in Bermuda’s waters and we also wanted to remove as many of these fish off of the reef as possible in an effort to slow their invasion and manage their numbers.

“Invasive species represent one of the largest threats to global biodiversity [only second to habitat destruction] so it is vitally important we do our best to control the numbers of these fish in Bermuda.

“Lionfish specifically are a threat because of their voracious appetite and scientists fear that important native fish and marine creatures, not recognizing the lionfish as a predator, will be reduced in numbers which will in turn diminish their ability to maintain a healthy reef ecosystem. We are seeing this happen on reefs to our south so we expect the same to happen here if we do not act.

“Lionfish are here to stay and until we fully understand their impact we need to study them and come up with practical solutions to manage their numbers, before they become a problem. Our ultimate goal is to help keep our reef healthy and empower Bermuda residents to take part in this reef conservation.

“One of our solutions to this is the Groundswell ‘Eat ‘em to Beat ‘em’ campaign where we are encouraging fishermen to target the lionfish over any other fish species and asking consumers to ask for lionfish from their favorite fishermen, grocer and restaurant in an effort to generate a market for these fish.

“The good news is they are safe and delicious to eat so we are optimistic we are on to a good thing.

“Over the years the tournament has grown into a fun community/family event where cullers and the general public can see how to safely handle, prepare, cook and even taste these fish. We also want to celebrate all the hard work that the cullers do throughout the year so we aim to give them an awesome party with lots of prizes.

“Last year we saw over a hundred participants catching near to 100 fish. We also saw 800+ people attend the event and we gave away hundreds of free delicious samples of lionfish. All money raised from the Groundswell Lionfish Tournament, the sale of merchandise and drinks goes towards future culling efforts and lionfish research.

“Last year we raised over $6,000 and donated to lionfish research being conducted at BIOS by Tim Noyes and provided some financial assistance for the Winter Lionfish Derby.

“This year with sponsorship from Hannover Life re and Chubb Ltd., Blue water Divers out of the west End and Dive Bermuda out of the East end will be taking out divers for free to cull as many lionfish as they can on some of their favorite dive sites.

“All participants will have to have a valid Lionfish Culling License and pay the tournament entry fee. Friends and family not hunting can attend the event for free.”

To register, visit the website.

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