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NC fishing tournament targets lionfish, an unwanted guest in coastal waters

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NC fishing tournament targets lionfish, an unwanted guest in coastal waters

A fishing tournament in Morehead City this spring aims to reduce the numbers of a destructive invasive species of fish that’s hard to catch.

The first annual “If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em” spearfishing tournament aims to educate the public about lionfish, a delicious but rarely eaten invasive species off the North Carolina coast, event coordinator Janelle Fleming said. Lionfish are native to the Pacific Ocean and have become unwanted guests of the coast in recent years.

“They have no (known) natural predators, they eat everything and they reach sexual maturity very early,” Fleming said. “It’s a problem. And it’s a problem for fisherman around here because all those lionfish will eat juvenile groupers and juvenile fish that all the fishermen are trying to catch.”

A $500 prize will go to the person who catches the most lionfish. There are smaller $250 prizes for the person who catches the longest lobster and another $250 prize for various other edible fish. The tournament also encourages residents to eat local seafood, Fleming said.

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  • Bart

    It wasn’t that long ago that I made the first report of seeing a lionfish on a wreck dive off Hatteras. At the time I was ridiculed and told I didn’t know what I was talking about. It took several months to find another one and come back with photographic evidence. People still didn’t want to believe it. Fast forward a few years and the @$% things are everywhere and taking over.

    • https://me.yahoo.com/a/CfsINEYDoex3fXYF.FLFCPOcXaFQros-#f30f8 jong

      When seeing all sorts of stuff that should not be around they should have at least given you the benefit of the doubt.

  • fliteking

    Some clown threw pickerel in our excellent bass / crappie waters . . . I have been tossing them on the bank . . . . land predators need to eat too.

  • slickzip

    Sounds like a good plan to me ,,,,,,,,,,

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/CfsINEYDoex3fXYF.FLFCPOcXaFQros-#f30f8 jong

    Good Lord I had no idea they could even survive in the Atlantic especially that far north. Wear a pair of stout boots hunting them

  • jb80538

    So many people toss pets in waters when they can’t keep them and they become a huge problem.

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