June 24, 2014
Teams, individuals collect awards for inaugural lionfish derby

The teams and individuals who emerged victorious from the June 9 lionfish derby were rewarded for their efforts at an awards ceremony last week at the fisheries conference room in Kingstown.{{more}}

Officials in the Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Friday handed over certificates, cash, drinks and food baskets to the men and women who took a total of 989 lionfish, weighing 629 pounds, out of the waters on the Leeward coast of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The lionfish derby, the first of its kind held during the local fisherman’s day competition, saw teams competing for the prizes and bragging rights, in what is expected to become a staple on future fisheries months of activities calendar.

Taking top honours for the most lionfish caught on the day were the members of Serenity Dive Crew, led by Vaughn Martin and which included Harvey Searles and Kenneth and Angela Picknell, who speared 293 of the invasive fish, which weighed 170 pounds.

In second place were the Trade Winds, who bagged 157 lionfish, weighing 119 pounds, while Indigo Dive Slayers placed third, after slaying 135 lionfish, totalling 89 pounds.

Indigo Dive Slayers also took the prize for the single largest lionfish, which was 41 centimetres (16.14 inches) in length, and the Night Divers team were rewarded for catching the smallest lion fish; seven centimetres (2.75 inches).

Awards were also given to Clarence Kirby, who singlehandedly caught 77 of the predators, totalling 53 pounds.

The lionfish derby was introduced by the fisheries department, in an effort to bring more awareness to the destructive nature of the lionfish and as an effort to rid the waters of the menace.

Fisheries officials also showed their appreciation to the companies that sponsored this year’s event by presenting them with certificates.

These include St Vincent Distillers Ltd, St Vincent Brewery Ltd, Paradise Beach Hotel, IKTV, CFL SVG Limited, Kay Wilson, Serenity Dive, Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Caribbean Aqua Terrestrial Solutions (CATS).