HSBC staff take on lionfish

A new predator is stalking Cayman’s
reefs, and HSBC staff is doing something about it.

In honour of Earth Day, a number of
HSBC staff recently received certification from the Marine Conservation Board
to capture and remove lionfish from Cayman waters.

The Red Lionfish is a venomous fish
which is native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans but has recently been
introduced to the Atlantic and Caribbean. Lionfish mature in less than one
year, spawn every 30 days and have no natural predators in the Caribbean so
their populations quickly get out of control.

Lionfish are ravenous predators of
small fish and invertebrates and with their exploding numbers can wipe out
native species, making them a critical threat to reef ecosystems and to diving,
fishing, and the local tourism industry.

Using a live lionfish, Presenter Bradley
Johnson of the Department of Environment showed course participants how to
safely capture and remove the fish.

“With the lionfish populations
around our Islands increasing so rapidly this is now a problem for all residents
of the Cayman Islands and it is important that everyone understands the dangers
and risks associated with this invasive species,” said Mr. Johnson.

“We at the Department are very
pleased that HSBC has recognized the importance of raising awareness about the
lionfish and have taken the initiative to organize a training session for their
staff who wished to become licensed to assist with removal efforts.”

 HSBC CEO, Gonzalo Jalles said HSBC appreciated
the importance of Cayman’s Maritime heritage and culture, noting the company felt
it was important that its Earth Day activity reflected this aspect of the
community.

“This is why we felt it was
important to address the issue of lionfish,” said Mr. Jalles.

“Our staff were eager to learn
about the species and become certified which prompted HSBC to participate in
the education and removal efforts by working closely with Mr. Johnson and his
team.”

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