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Lionfish Derby helps cut predator numbers

More than 120 predator fish have been removed from Bermuda's waters thanks to a Lionfish Derby held by Royal Bermuda Regiment divers.

The RBR Underwater Task Force teamed up with the Bermuda Lionfish Task Force for a team competition to help wipe out the fish last weekend.

RBR soldier and diver Lance Corporal Neville Vanderpool said: “The tournament went very well and we had a good turnout. Six teams were able to get into the water.”

He added the teams of two to four divers caught a total of 124 lionfish.

A $500 first prize went to team Iron Lion Zion, who caught the most fish, while Lionfish Mafia won $250 for catching the largest fish and We Dive at 5 got a $250 prize for the smallest.

The tournament is one of several events held throughout the year to keep on top of lionfish numbers.

Lionfish, originally from the Pacific, prey on native fish that keep the island's reefs healthy.

Lance Corporal Vanderpool said he would like to see more people take to the water to cull the fish “especially in the winter months”.

Lance Corporal Vanderpool explained the fish are found at greater depths in the summer but come to shallower areas in the winter, making them easier to catch.

He added: “The lionfish will devour our native population without a second's hesitation.”

Lance Corporal Vanderpool added a decline in the numbers of native fish, which feed on reef algae, led to a build-up of growth which can kill off a reef system.

He said: “Our current solution is to get in the water, hunt them and eat them. They make for a very tasty meal.”

Team Iron, Lion, Zion won Most Caught Fish in the Fall Lionfish Derby organised by The Royal Bermuda Regiment (Photograph supplied)

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Published November 16, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated November 16, 2017 at 7:17 am)

Lionfish Derby helps cut predator numbers

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