Bermuda Lionfish Project: Lionfish Culling Training


11th Hour Racing, Exclusive Sustainability Partner of Land Rover BAR, is developing a project to raise awareness on the global issue of invasive species. With Bermuda hosting the 35th America’s Cup, we are focused on lionfish.

Weldon Wade, of Guardians of the Reef, trains members of the Land Rover BAR team.

As part of the upcoming #EatLionfish Chefs’ Throwdown, 11th Hour Racing hosted an evening for Land Rover BAR team members and their families to learn more about the lionfish invasion, with training provided by Weldon Wade of Guardian of the Reefs. The team learned how to hunt, spear, and safely handle lionfish, and heard about what RISE (Robots in Service of the Environment) is doing to help combat the problem. Geoff Gardner, ex-director of BUEI and now working with RISE, talked about the underwater robots they are developing to help tackle this invasive species in Bermuda and globally.

Members of Land Rover BAR examine a lionfish spear.

At the end of the evening, all attendees received their Bermuda Lionfish Spearing Permit, and Land Rover BAR set forth an informal challenge for all who were present for biggest/smallest/most lionfish caught from now until the #EatLionfish Chefs’ Throwdown in April.

Weldon Wade shares facts of the lionfish invasion with Land Rover BAR.
Members of Land Rover Bar during Bermuda Lionfish Spearing Permit training.

The lionfish is a non-native invasive species in Bermuda and has no natural predators. Accidentally introduced in the Atlantic in the 1980s, they have fully invaded the western Atlantic and Caribbean and pose a dramatic environmental threat. Lionfish eat anything and everything. Impressively, their stomachs can expand up to 30 times their normal size after a meal! They damage ecosystems, coral reefs, create havoc on biodiversity and are hard to control because they have a very high reproduction rate – a single female lionfish can spawn over 2 million eggs/year!

Geoff Gardner presents on the RISE lionfish robot.

The mission of RISE is to apply scalable robotic technology to solving large-scale environmental challenges and to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. Its initial focus is to provide a targeted solution for lionfish population control and help restore a balance to subsea ecosystems in the western Atlantic.

Land Rover BAR team members with their lionfish hunting flags.

Stay tuned for more updates, announcements, and recipes!

Photos ©Alex Palmer