Foster’s Food Fair has provided a grant of CI$20,000 to the Cayman Islands Tourism Association to help cull lionfish from area reefs.
With proceeds from the 5 cents collected per plastic bag distributed at its grocery stores, Foster’s Food Fair and the tourism association have teamed up to facilitate a community-based solution to the problem of the invasive and destructive species wreaking havoc in Cayman’s aquatic ecosystem.
The nonprofit tourism association has focused recently on the lionfish invasion through its water sports sector, as participating CITA members frequently offer weekend lionfish culling dives.
“By offering these dedicated dives to remove lionfish on a regular basis, we are not only protecting our marine environment, but one can argue that we are protecting our tourism industry as well,” said Jane van der Bol, executive director of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association. “It is well documented that most tourists arrive to our shores to enjoy the beautiful natural environment that our islands and surrounding waters offer. CITA and our water sports operators are excited to be a partner with Foster’s to help keep our tourism product as healthy and vibrant as possible.”
Originally from the Pacific Ocean and popular as aquarium fish, lionfish are colourful with venomous tentacle spikes. First spotted in Florida waters in 1985, the population of the voracious predator has exploded in recent years and spread throughout the Caribbean. To control this marine pest, conservation groups are encouraging fishermen and divers to catch lionfish and eat them. A lionfish cookbook featuring 45 recipes is now available.
For more information, visit CITA’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cita.ky