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RBR go to war against lionfish

Royal Bermuda Regiment divers will this weekend spearhead a lionfish derby designed to take out as many of the invasive predators as possible.

The RBR Underwater Task Force has teamed up with the Bermuda Lionfish Task Force for a team competition to help wipe out the fish, originally from the Pacific, that prey on native fish that keep the island's reefs healthy.

Prizes — including a $500 top prize — are on offer for teams of two to four divers who join in for the four-day event.

Lance Corporal Neville Vanderpool, part of the RBR dive squad, said: “We're trying to get as many bodies in the water as we can to eliminate some of the lionfish out there.

“It's very important for our reefs. Lionfish literally eat everything in sight. Algae grows on the reef and native fish eat the algae. Lionfish eat the native species and if the algae grows on the reef unchecked, the reef dies.

He added: “Lionfish have a very high breeding rate and they disrupt the entire food chain because they eat everything. The native fish haven't got to the point where they recognise the lionfish as a threat, so they're vulnerable.”

The event starts at 6pm tomorrow and runs to 2pm on Monday.

The cost is $20 per diver and the derby will end with a weigh-in, fish fry and drinks at 3pm on Monday at the RBR Sergeants' Mess at Warwick Camp.

Lance Corporal Vanderpool added: “The diving locations are up to the divers' discretion, but we'd like them to avoid hitting the same place more than once. But if we get the lionfish off the reef that's all that matters.”

• Divers can register at PTix.bm or by contacting Lance Corporal Vanderpool on 799-0810.

Catch of the day: Regiment and civilian divers line up their haul of lionfish after efforts to cull their numbers in February, 2015 (File photograph)

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Published November 09, 2017 at 9:55 pm (Updated November 09, 2017 at 9:55 pm)

RBR go to war against lionfish

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