Bermuda Lionfish Project: Lionfish Culling Training
LIONFISH PROJECT – CULLING
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Stay tuned for more updates, announcements, and recipes!
Photos ©Alex Palmer