CORE officials trained six new searchers and responders recently to help the fight against lionfish.
Last week volunteers with the Caribbean Oceanic Restoration and Education Foundation added to their numbers while eliminating several more lionfish from local waters.
On Sunday, June 9, CORE volunteers Leslie Charpentier and Frank Cummings led a group of six residents in a certification dive between Whistling Cay and Windswept Reef. Although the group only bagged two lionfish — a non-native species which poses a serious threat to local reefs — CORE now has two additional responders and four new searchers.
Boat owner and captain George Kremer, along with instructors Charpentier and Cummings and videographer Franklin Tulloch, certified Tyler Batton and Steve Murdock as responders, meaning they are able to shoot lionfish within V.I. National Park waters.
The group also certified Kourtney Donohue, Lucas Schnell, Cory Emerson and Christopher Meyer as searchers, who will help identify areas where lionfish are congregating.
CORE continues to welcome volunteers and share information about the lionfish threat. More urgently, however, the group need donations, explained Charpentier.
“While we can always use more volunteers what we really need are donations to fund materials and boats for divers,” said Charpentier. “We have many volunteers who can donate their time who do not have the money to spend on dive boats or even dive gear. We are a non-profit organization, so donations are tax deductible.”
Small cash donations can be dropped off at Connections and CORE has a form for larger donations, Charpentier added.
“Many people do not realize the cost and time that goes into diving, in order for us to search for lionfish on the many reefs surrounding St. John we need fuel money for boat use that is donated and tank fills for diving,” she said. “I would say on the average we spend about $5 to $25 for every fish we kill and we have removed thousands from the reefs surrounding St. John.”
For more information on CORE, check out nolionfish.com or call Charpentier at (340) 201-2342.