The island of Caye Caulker was the place to be this past Saturday, February 13, 2016, for the Lionfish Derby organized by Oceana Wavemaker Lynne Couch-Harris and the Barrier Reef Sports Bar. This was Caye Caulker's first Lionfish Derby, an event supported by Oceana Belize with assistance from Frontier, Blue Ventures and the Belize Game Fish Association. The tournament's purpose - to spearfish these invasive fish that have been targeting juvenile fish on our reefs and effectively been decimating native fish populations in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The good news? Lionfish is delicious!
It was an amazing turnout being Caye Caulker's first ever Lionfish Derby, drawing crowds to the beachside that wanted to see all the participants coming in with coolers full of Lionfish. An impressive 548 Lionfish were removed from the reef, from the smallest measuring at 10cm to the largest that measured an impressive 15 inches. Prizes were awarded for the most lionfish caught while diving, most lionfish while free diving, the largest lionfish and the smallest lionfish. Congratulations to all the winners and kudos to Oceana Belize and organizers for successful event.
Most Lionfish (scuba) - Team Sagebrush, San Pedro - 78 Lionfish killed - Team members Brad Blanchat, Kyle Thomas, Eddie Ancona, Bill McDonald, Justin from Amigos del Mar and boat captain Andre Paz
Most Lionfish (free dive) and Smallest Lionfish Winner - Miguel Moreno
Largest Lionfish Winner - Stefanie & Henry Lopez "Catching Goma"
Youngest Team Winner - Pernell Coc & Team
For more information on the annual Lionfish Derby contact Oceana Belize.