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Lion fish1

Canouan residents enjoy meals make with lionfish killed in the lionfish tour of the Grenadines last week. (Photo: Mayreau Regatta/Facebook)

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A dozen divers worked hard to catch 27 lionfish in the waters around Canouan on Thursday.

Six fishermen free dived and six scuba dived in the deeper waters, with Antoine Lewis of Grenadines Dive catching the first three lionfish of the day, under Canouan’s main wharf.

The rest of the divers struck out on our first two dives, but local knowledge paid off when they headed to a site recommended by Canouan Dive Center staff members, Jean Hodges and Steve Judge, where 14 of the voracious predators were speared.

The scuba divers were outmatched by Canouan fisherman Peter Snagg, who speared nine lionfish in just five feet of water right in the Canouan harbour.

The hunt around Canouan was one activity in the lionfish tour of the Grenadines, organised by the Mayreau Regatta and Sporting Committee and Grenadines Dive.

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The stop in Canouan also included a workshop on the lionfish invasion and an evening lionfish barbecue at which 49 meals were served, most to Canouan residents who’d never before tasted lionfish or seen one other than in pictures.

Safe lionfish handling was demonstrated by Lorne Saul-Demers of the Mayreau Regatta and Sporting Committee, who, along with Claude Alexander, showed the crowd how to trim off the 18 venomous spines and then fillet the fish.

At the evening barbecue, Jeanetta Alexander of the Mayreau Regatta and Sporting Committee seasoned and grilled the tasty and nutritious fish.

“We ended the tour as we started it,” said Glenroy Adams of Grenadines Dive.

“Cooperation and teamwork was the name of the game. Our events on Canouan wouldn’t have been possible without the wonderful support we got from the Canouan Sailing Club, who allowed us to use their great facilities, and Canouan chef Carmen Simmons, who catered for the workshop, provided the food to go with the lionfish at the barbecue and found us accommodation on the island.”

Organizers of the first lionfish tour of the Grenadines declared it a success, with 172 lionfish removed from the waters of the Grenadines.

Further six chefs now know how to prepare this exotic and delicious fish, 49 workshop participants now know a lot more about lionfish and 305 samples of lionfish were consumed by interested residents and visitors who had the chance to listen to informal presentations, ask questions and read over the fact sheets that were distributed.