Hello lionfish hunters!
Bermuda's Winter Lionfish Derby is an annual event and every Bermuda resident with a valid, up-to-date lionfish culling permit is invited to participate. So if you have one, please brave the cold water and hunt. It seems Bermuda's lionfish typically move closer to shore through the winter, into shallower water, which makes them easy targets. Considering the overall threat that invasive lionfish represent, we think an annual winter derby provides a unique opportunity to catch big numbers of lionfish in an easy and fun way, ultimately making a pretty big dent in their population.
The 2019 derby will run from January 1st until January 31st, with a wrap-up party and award ceremony on Saturday, February 2nd at a venue still to be determined. There will be a $25 entry fee to participate and with it, you'll get a ticket to the party. As in years past, there will be cash prizes in both freediver and SCUBA diver categories. We also hope to have additional door prizes for lionfish hunters who did not bring in big numbers, but still deserve a prize for their efforts. So even if you only spear one single lionfish, you still might win something. Every lionfish hunter who provides us with proof of their catch will receive an official Winter Lionfish Derby hooded sweatshirt. For any hunters who tried, but came home empty-handed, there will be a limited number of sweatshirts available for purchase. A separate event will be posted here with Premier Tickets in mid-January for people who wish to attend the party, but do not plan to hunt.
Rules and regulations:
- The derby itself will run from January 1st until January 31st. Every lionfish you catch during this period counts to your total haul.
- To participate, you must have a valid, up-to-date lionfish culling permit from Bermuda’s Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Did you renew yours in the past few months?
- There will be a $25 entry fee for the derby that also gets you a ticket to the wrap-up party where we’ll announce the winners. You will be able to register at Premier Tickets (PTIX): www.ptix.bm/lionfishderby
- The wrap-up party will be on Saturday, February 2nd from 6pm until 9pm, at a venue to be announced.
- Every participant who spears lionfish in January and provides them to us will be entered into the contest and receive an official Winter Derby hooded sweatshirt.
- Depending on availability, a limited number of sweatshirts will be available the day of our wrap-up party for hunters who hunted, but came home empty-handed.
- There will be cash prizes in both freediver and SCUBA diver categories.
$500 for the most (by number) lionfish caught by any team
$250 for the second most (by number) lionfish caught by any team
$100 for the third most (by number) lionfish caught by any team
- There will also be a cash prize for the largest ($100) and smallest ($100) lionfish caught overall by any individual lionfish hunter, not in both categories.
- This year, teams of 2-4 hunters will be allowed and, in fact, required; we don’t want to promote solo diving and hunting at any time, especially in the cold.
- To level the playing field and maximize participation among our permit holders, I'm sorry to say there will not be prize categories for the technical divers.
- There will be additional door prizes for lionfish hunters who did not bring in big numbers, but still deserve a prize for their efforts. So even if you catch one single lionfish, you still might win something.
- Lionfish will be collected through the month of January by a variety of methods still to be confirmed.
- You must include a slip of paper with your name, permit number, date of capture, site of capture, and depth of capture for each fish. Please keep fish from different dives separate.
- We will accept whole lionfish or wracks (whatever is left after you take the fillet).
- Any fish you enter as a potential largest or smallest lionfish must be submitted whole, with or without spines attached.
- If providing wracks, the research team asks that you measure each whole fish before you take the fillet, and provide us with that information. This is optional, but greatly appreciated.
- Please freeze all lionfish as soon as possible and keep them frozen until you deliver them.
- Join our Whatsapp group, Winter Lionfish Derby, to share photos and stories with your fellow hunters. Please message us your number (on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org) so you can be added.
- A separate event will be posted on PTIX in mid-January for people who wish to attend the party, but do not plan to hunt.
Please visit our Facebook event page for photos and stories:
The annual Winter Lionfish Derby is a great opportunity for us to thank all the lionfish hunters for everything they do to protect Bermuda's marine ecosystem.
Also see our previous event: Bermuda's fourth annual Winter Lionfish Derby