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Successful month for marine conservation

Top catch: A lionfish is speared during competition

It has been a buoyant month for the world of marine conservation with two major events taking place — The Groundswell Lionfish Tournament and the Reef Watch citizen science event.

Some 28 teams signed up to participate in the 2015 Reef Watch event which invites members of the public to take to the waters to help collect crucial scientific data on the health of Bermuda’s coral reefs.

Out of the 19 reefs that were examined some 58 per cent were found to be in good health while 37 per cent were in fair condition. Only five per cent of our reefs were reported as being in a poor state.

Thaddeus Murdoch, who has been a coral reef scientist for 23 years has a doctorate in Marine Science, said: “This is very good news, as Bermuda’s hard corals build our coral reefs and give reefs the strength to withstand powerful waves and, in this manner, protect our shores and beaches from erosion during big storms.”

Some $15,000 was raised through the event, of which Hiscox Re was chief sponsor, with the money going towards coral reef conservation.

The top fundraising team on the day was team Dom Perignon, raising $1,500 followed by team Groundswell.

Meanwhile, the fifth annual lionfish tournament was hailed a success by organisers with a record 90 participants and a total of 117 lionfish caught.

Also, $12,000 was raised towards lionfish research and culling.

The winners were team Oracle (largest fish); team Hanover (smallest fish and most fish on scuba); team Ocean Support Foundation (most fish on technical diving); and team Iron, Lion, Zion (most fish while freediving). There was also a lionfish photo competition for which the overall winner was Eric Manfra.