At its June meeting in Sarasota, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved a new and exciting opportunity that will encourage divers to remove invasive lionfish by allowing them …
Bimini Sands’ Annual Woody Foundation Lionfish Bash Removes 276 Invasive Lionfish
South Bimini, Bahamas – Bimini Sands Resort & Marina on South Bimini in the Bahamas hosted The Woody Foundation’s Lionfish Bash for the fourth year in a row on August 15-17, 2014. The popular family spearfishing event led to the removal of 276 lionfish – a non-native, invasive species that is threatening native fish stocks in the Bahamas and Florida – from the waters around Bimini.
The Lionfish Bash is an annual event created to raise awareness about lionfish as well as to benefit The Woody Foundation, a Miami-based non-profit organization that raises funds to aid in the recovery of persons with spinal injuries. Foundation Board Member James “Woody” Beckham, whose severe spinal injury during a college rugby game in 2011 launched The Woody Foundation, attended the Lionfish Bash in person as he has done every year, inspiring all the participants.
The results of the 4th Annual Lionfish Bash:
Largest Lionfish: Rick Rodriguez, shown above, (36.5 oz.)
Smallest Lionfish: Cody Gunthner (0.061 oz.)
Top Junior Angler: Trace Colson (18.5 oz.)
Most Lionfish Caught, 1st Place: Team Spears & Beers (80)
Most Lionfish Caught, 2nd Place: Team Extra Expense (70).
The fun weekend event included a Captain’s Meeting at the Square Grouper tiki bar, a full day of spearfishing in the spectacular waters around Bimini, and an Awards Banquet at the resort’s waterfront Bimini Twist Restaurant. Most Lionfish Bash participants brought their own boats to the event, but Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center’s 40-foot dive boat, the Dive God, took out a group who did not have their own vessels.
“The Lionfish Bash is one of the most fun and rewarding events we host each year,” said Bimini Sands President and CEO Frank Cooney. “We enjoy seeing Woody Beckham, his family and fellow board members from The Woody Foundation, and watching the fun as the Lionfish Bash participants helped to rid our beautiful coral reefs of these invasive fish.”
“Thanks again to the Cooney Family for hosting The Lionfish Bash,” said Woody Beckham. “Everyone thoroughly enjoys this unique adventure to Bimini. I can’t wait ’til next year’s event!” — Louisa Beckett, Bahamas Weekly, Aug 26, 2014