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Lionfish tour of Grenadines taking place this week

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The first annual lionfish tour of the Grenadines, organized by the Mayreau Regatta and Sporting Committee, together with Grenadines Dive, is taking place this week.{{more}}

Beginning yesterday, and running until Thursday, May 22, the tour includes working with dive shop operators, fishermen, chefs, residents and visitors on Bequia, Mustique and Canouan to battle the lionfish invasion in our waters.

According to a release from the organizers, on each island, workshops will be offered on how to safely handle and cook lionfish; participants will hunt lionfish and then serve up their catches at lionfish tasting events.

“Grenadines Dive is delighted to partner with the Mayreau Regatta and Sporting Committee to preserve and enhance the marine biodiversity in the waters surrounding our Grenadines islands,” said well-know environmentalist and diveshop owner Glenroy Adams.

“Mayreau has been doing a great job battling the lionfish invasion since lionfish were first spotted in the Tobago Cays Marine Park in early 2012. Things are taking off on Union Island, too, and now it’s time to build capacity to manage the population of these voracious and venomous predators on the other Grenadine islands.”

On Monday, the group travelled to Bequia, and did a free workshop on safe handling of lionfish at the Paget Farm community centre. Yesterday evening, free samples of lionfish pizza were provided at Mac’s Pizzeria.

Today, participants will take part in a lionfish hunt with Dive Bequia and Bequia Dive Adventures during the day, then have a free lionfish BBQ at Dufton Ollivierre’s in Paget Farm at 6:30 in the evening. Then on Wednesday, the group will travel down to Mustique and do a workshop at 11:30, a lionfish hunt and a 5 p.m. lionfish BBQ at the fishing village. On Thursday, the tour’s last day, they’ll be on Canouan, where they’ll repeat the events at the Sailing Club before returning home to Mayreau and Union Island.

“In early 2012, we recognized that our livelihoods here on Mayreau, which are dependent on fishing and tourism, were threatened by this invasion,” said Claude Alexander, president of the Mayreau Regatta and Sporting Committee. “At that time, we challenged other Grenadines to join us in the war on lionfish and we’re repeating that challenge now. Together, we can save our native fish and reefs by keeping the lionfish invasion in check, and have some delicious meals as a bonus!”

The Mayreau Regatta and Sporting Committee held their first lionfish derby on April 26, 2012 and since then they’ve continued annual derbies; held regular lionfish hunts with Grenadines Dive; written and performed an educational play; done school presentations; worked with the Tobago Cays Marine Park to organize the first-ever Union Island Lionfish Derby; served up their first annual lionfish cooking competition and tasting; and hosted a workshop on making jewellery from lionfish spines, tails and fins. The group is grateful to the United Nation’s Global Environment Facility Small Grant programme for enabling this expansion of their efforts to manage the lionfish invasion.

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