Plastic bag fund to fight lionfish

Lionfish hunters help keep the invasive population under control. - File Photo

Supermarket chain Foster’s is diverting $20,000 raised through environmental charges on plastic bags to help fight Cayman’s lionfish problem. 

The funds will go towards a series of tournaments organized by the Cayman United Lionfish League, starting this weekend. 

Foster’s has also agreed to sell lionfish fillets in its supermarkets, when stocks are available, as part of a push to put the fish on menus in homes and restaurants across Cayman. 

Lionfish are an invasive predator in Cayman’s waters. Experts have warned that the unchecked population explosion of the voracious eaters, which devour thousands of juvenile reef fish, represents a serious risk to diving and fishing industries across the Caribbean. 

Human cull programs are currently the only effective method of controlling lionfish. CULL’s tournament series, which will involve four weekend spearing tournaments for freedivers and scuba divers, is a key part of Cayman’s response to that threat. 

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association, which is also sponsoring the series, urged people to sign up for this weekend’s “March Madness” tournament. Registration takes place on Thursday evening at Stingers restaurant from 5 p.m until 7 p.m. 

The event will feature cash prizes in various categories as well as a public weigh-in and cook-out at public beach from 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 

CITA hailed Foster’s for its contribution to the cause in a statement this week. 

“The funds from Foster’s Food Fair came from monies collected for plastic bags in the stores as per the ‘BECOME’ program which started a few years ago. Foster’s Food Fair committed to the public that all funds collected for the plastic bags would go back to the community. This generous initiative will allow for funds to directly support CULL Tournaments throughout the year.”  


Jalene Cruz with her catch at a previous tournament.

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