FRIDAY, OCT. 5: The Western Atlantic’s leading authorities on lionfish management are to run a two-day workshop with some of the island’s key environmental figures next week. 

Lad Akins, Director of Special Projects for the Florida-based Reef Environmetal Education Foundation (REEF), and Dr James Morris, an ecologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will share their expert knowledge and help to devise a concrete plan to manage the invasive species that threaten our reefs and fishstocks.

The Ocean Support Foundation, led by Triangle Diving owner Graham Maddocks, invited a diverse group of organizations and governement departments to sit in on the workshops and help to brainstorm ideas.

The outcome of the workshops will be presented to a public audience next Wednesday at the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo.

Groups involved in the workshops include the Department of Environmental Protection; Conservation Services; the Commercial Fisheries Council; the Marine Resources Board; the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences; the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, the Bermuda National Trust; the Department of Tourism and representatives from various dive centres.

There will be some 30 representatives from across these various groups and filmmaker Robert Zuill will be recording all sessions.

James Gleason of the Ocean Support Foundation told the Bermuda Sun: “We are really excited about the level of international support we are getting for Bermuda. Lad has been focusing on the lionfish invasion since 2006 — he has been extremely involved in research from trapping to tagging to spearing to doing necropsies. James has a great deal of expertise in invasive species and marine aquaculture. They have both been working with different jurisdictions to help them to develop a control plan.

“They still have a lot of questions but they have done a lot of research that they can tell us about.”

As well as presenting the outcome of the workshops at the public event on Wednesday evening, Dr Morris will chronicle the lionfish invasion in the Atlantic Ocean while Mr Akins will talk about how citizen volunteers are having an impact on helping the solution.

• Tickets are free for the evening event but are limited. They are on a first come, first served basis and must be reserved in advance by emailing: lionfish@oceansupport.org. Tickets should be picked up at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo in advance. Ticket holders will be notified by email when tickets will be available for pick up. The presentation is on Wednesday, October 10. Doors open at 6:30pm and the presentation starts at 7pm. It is expected to last for two hours.