Central Abaco Lionfish Derby: A hopeful indicator of lionfish fight?

Smallest lionfish caught during the recent Central Abaco Lionfish Derby. PHOTO CREDIT: Friends of the Environment.

By Friends of the Environment

The third annual Central Abaco Lionfish Derby was successful and provided interesting numbers as compared to last year’s derby. With the assistance of our sponsors, participants and volunteers we were able to remove a total of 667 lionfish from the Sea of Abaco as compared to 2,957 fish last year.

The difference in numbers hopefully reflects the impact that these derbies are having on local lionfish populations. The winning boat, “Kiki”, consisted of four local fishermen who participated and won third place in last year’s derby. Although they brought in a total of 406 lionfish to win this year, they stated that they had to go to triple the amount of fishing grounds to capture less lionfish than they did last year. This suggests that there has been a significant reduction in the local population.

In an effort to make a larger impact throughout the year, Marsh Harbour Exporters and Importers (The Fish House) are contributing two additional cash prizes of $1,000 and $500 for the fisherman who brings in the highest number of lionfish throughout the year. Fisherman can drop their catch off at The Fish House during business hours where their catch will be counted and recorded. The winners will be awarded their cash prizes at next year’s lionfish derby. There will also be an all year derby held in Green Turtle Cay with a first place prize of $1,000. Beginning in August, fishermen in the north can take their catch to Larry Lowe at Abaco Seafood the first Monday of every month, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Fishermen, you can help the environment by doing something you love! Catch lionfish!

To learn more about invasive lionfish, visit: http://www.friendsoftheenvironment.org/Invasive_Marine_Species.html. To learn more about Friends of the Environment, visit www.friendsoftheenvironment.org or call (242) 367-2721.