Eat a lionfish at the library

Celebrate 25 years of marine parks conservation in Cayman

A lionfish cull will be held this weekend and lionfish dishes will be served up at the George Town Library on Monday, 23 May, as part of celebrations to mark a quarter century of marine parks conservation in Cayman.

Twenty-five years ago, legislation to protect the Islands’ marine parks was drawn up to tackle overfishing and reef degradation in local waters.

Although the law protected those marine parks from human interference, it can do little to safeguard the reefs and fish populations in the marine parks from the invasion of lionfish over the past three years, other than be amended to allow divers to kill lionfish. Since the Marine Conservation regulations were amended, thousands of lionfish have been killed by divers and snorkellers.

The Department of Environment is hosting a Marine Parks Open House on Monday at the George Town Library to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Cayman’s Marine Parks.

Department of Environment research officer James Gibb explained that a cull – the latest in a series of lionfish “roundups” in conjunction with the department and Ambassador Divers – will be held on Saturday and Sunday, 21 and 22 May.

“On Monday, people will get a chance to eat the caught lionfish at the open house at the George Town Library. Lionfish will be on the menu,” he said.

Michael’s Genuine will be serving up the menu for the event at the library.

The public is invited to tour exhibits showcasing the work done by the Department of Environment, view the children’s poster competition entries and taste some lionfish.

There will also be a boat christening ceremony for the latest addition to the Department of Environment’s enforcement fleet.

As with previous lionfish culls, there will be a weigh-in of the captured spiky venomous fish, with prizes for the biggest fish, the largest amount of fish caught and others.

To register a team, email [email protected], with the team name and number of members. Check-in for the event will be at Ambassador Divers at Comfort Suites on West Bay Road between 8am and 10am Saturday.

The weigh-ins for the tournament will be held at Cayman Screen Print on 174 North Church Street, opposite McArthur’s store, at 5pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday, with judging being held at 5pm on Sunday.

Each participant will receive a commemorative 25th anniversary of marine parks “Not on my reef” T-shirt.

The exhibition at the library opens at 4.30pm Monday and official announcements will follow at 5.30pm. Admission is free.

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