Following on Sail Cayman’s recent post about our Captain Orneil being an active Lionfish hunter we have more excellent news to share. The avid Cayman Islands Lionfish hunter teams took to Cayman’s waters this past weekend and rounded up as many of the invasive predators as possible as part of Cayman United Lionfish League’s cull #12.
According to this Cayman 27 report approximately 60 cullers on 13 teams competed for bragging rights and cash prizes, killing 579 long-spined vermin during the two-day tournament. Those fish weighed in at a whopping 251.7 pounds!!
Cullers reported the search and destroy mission isn’t getting easier.
“It was difficult to find the lionfish; second it was difficult to keep the lionfish on the spear; third it was difficult to keep the lionfish in the container,” said Heather Johnson.
“Those teams are saying it’s harder to find them. They’ve got to go further, they’ve got to go deeper, they’ve got to stay in the water longer, and they’re still only coming in with half the numbers,” said Mark Orr of the Department of Environment.
A culling tournament in late 2012 that Captain Orneil from Sail Cayman took part in as well netted more than 1,300 lionfish, more than twice the amount from Cull #12. Mr. Orr told Cayman 27 the numbers are proof the culling is making a difference.
“We are doing what what we are out to do, which is to lessen the number of lionfish that are out on the reef,” said Mr. Orr.
The cull also raised funds to support a 6-year-old girl and her mother. Both victims of domestic abuse. It was an Cayman’s ARK (Acts of Random Kindness) project spearheaded by recent Hope Academy graduate Pierre Lesieur.
“We’re helping the little girl get her education, as well as cleaning up the reefs and protecting our ecosystems,” said Mr. Lesieur.
“All the proceeds from our registration and everything also go to him, so we are hoping to help him help this young lady to a much higher extent than he was planning at the start,” said Mr. Orr.
Culler Joe Segelman said everyone who participates are winners in the tournament.
“No matter if you get one or 70 different lionfish, it doesn’t matter because you’re all contributing towards getting rid of the lionfish invasion that’s happened in the Caribbean,” said Mr. Segelman.