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(PRESS RELEASE) — On Saturday, February 23, Soufriere is set to host its first Lionfish Derby and Cookout.
The event, the first of four such events, is hosted by the Soufriere Pitons Lions Club to help control the population of non-native lionfish in the coastal waters of Soufriere.
All activities associated with the event will take place at the Soufriere Fisheries Complex.
The derby, which is restricted to registered participating teams of four members each from Anse Chastanet Resort, Sugar Beach A Viceroy Resort and the St. Lucia Dive Association (ANBAGLO), will be held in the morning.
During the derby, spear fishers and divers from the participating teams will go head to head in competition to catch and return lionfish from Soufriere’s coastal waters.
According to Club President, Faydian Gill, “Cash prizes totaling more than EC$3,500 will be awarded to teams
that bring in the most lionfish, smallest, and largest lionfish.”
The public is invited to the cookout which follows thereafter between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
At the cookout, trained chefs will be demonstrating to the public how to safely handle, clean, filet and creative ways to prepare the lionfish. At the same time, the public would be welcomed to taste free samples of the lionfish.
“The lionfish’s delicate white meat is delicious and taste similarly to the grouper and mahi mahi. It can be made into fish fingers, kebabs, fritters, ceviches, and lots of other dishes,” said Marius Felix, club director. “This will be a learn and sample event like no other.”
The Soufriere Lionfish Derby and Cookout is funded by the Global Environment Facility/Small Grants Programme and the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association/Tourism Enhancement Fund.
The event is part of an ongoing series of activities designed by the Soufriere Pitons Lions Club to curb the rapid growth of the invasive lionfish.
The lionfish originates from the Indo-Pacific region and is believed to have been first released from aquariums into the waters around Florida in the 1980s.
The lionfish has few known natural predators and reproduces at a phenomenal rate. Consequently, they pose a major threat to coral reef ecosystems in the Caribbean region by decreasing the survival of a wide range of native reef species.