The 9th annual Green Turtle Cay Lionfish Derby was held at the Green Turtle Club and Marina on June 23rd and 24th. The event was started by Green Turtle Cay second home owners and Brendal’s Dive Center, and continued with the assistance of Friends of the Environment, as a way to reduce populations of invasive lionfish in Abaco waters.
Characteristic of an invasive species, lionfish reproduce often and abundantly. They also consume space and resources needed by our native species; meaning that lionfish are a threat to our environment and our economy. Because of this, lionfish are listed in the Bahamas’ National Invasive Species Strategy as a species recommended for control.
While participation was somewhat reduced due to weather, six boats were able to scour the waters and collect 586 lionfish.
The winning team with a catch of 419 fish was “Spearbender”, based out of Green Turtle Cay. They also caught the smallest and largest lionfish at 5.4 and 34 centimeters, respectively. Coming in second was “Bolo Boys” with 141 lionfish.
Crowds gathered at the Green Turtle Marina during weigh-in to see the catch, share fishing stories over rum punch, and enjoy a taste of fried lionfish.
Later on, participants gathered for the awards ceremony, banquet, and live music at the Green Turtle Club. A great time was had by all.
Prizes were sponsored by Brendal’s Dive Center, The Abaco Tourist Office, Chris Burdett, and Friends of the Environment, as well as numerous individual donations.
This event would not have been possible without the support and involvement of some key businesses and individuals. Organizers thank: The Green Turtle Club Resort and Marina, Sarah Ann Showell, Brendal’s Dive Center, Bobbie Lindsay, Chris Burdett, The Abaco Tourist Office, The Bahamas Department of Marine Resources, Marsh Harbour Exporters and Importers, James Boyce, Jim Richard, Marc and Enie Hensel, and all the derby registrants and participants.
Stay tuned for details on next year’s 10th annual Green Turtle Cay Lionfish Derby.