Tag: cayman swordfish challenge

World Oceans Day

Posted by on 7th June 2017

What does the ocean mean to you?

In Cayman, the Caribbean Sea is a prime food source and a place to learn about and enjoy our diverse marine life.

However, did you know that invasive lionfish are out-breeding, out-competing and out-living native fish stocks and other marine species? The consequences are impacting food security and economies affecting over a hundred million people.

Introducing CULL, Cayman United Lionfish League. Our on-site Executive Chef at The Brasserie, Thomas Tennant, is one of the founding members behind this conservation effort to protect Cayman’s reefs and marine life.

“Lionfish are disrupting the food chain. They eat the marine ecosystem that clean the reef and if the reef is not cleaned, algae and bacteria start to build up which decreases coral growth rates,” says Thomas.

“The fish we love to eat, like snapper and triggerfish, are reliant on the reefs for protection to grow. If the reefs are no longer there, the fish have no protection and fish stocks are reduced.”

Data collected is showing that lionfish will eat anything that they can fit into their mouths. Their stomach can expand up to 30 times the normal volume and a lionfish will fill it up to capacity as soon as it is able. Scientists have catalogued over 70 different species that lionfish will eat through stomach content analysis. In addition to the fish they eat, they also eat invertebrates and molluscs – shrimp, crabs, juvenile octopus, squid and juvenile lobster, for example.

Lionfish are not native to Caribbean waters (they are native to the Indo-Pacific oceans and the Red Sea), so they have very few predators, yet they themselves are voracious predators. Pretty much everything about the lionfish – its red and white zebra stripes, long, showy pectoral fins and generally cantankerous demeanor – says, “Don’t touch!”

“We’d love to find a natural predator for the lionfish. In the meantime, we need to lead by example, encourage local divers to follow suit, and increase the education and awareness of the detrimental impact that lionfish are having on marine life. The coastal waters around the islands are our backyard and we need to focus on mowing our own lawn,” Thomas explains.

“If you have a licence to spear, hunt lionfish on your next dive and sell them to a local restaurant like The Brasserie. The demand is there. People enjoy eating lionfish and as long as the fish are fresh, I’ll take them.

“Just remember to buy and eat local lionfish to support the health of our local reef systems. Restaurants now have the option of importing lionfish, but in order to make a difference locally, we need to be sourcing and eating local lionfish.”

Thomas is one of several chefs on island who is incorporating lionfish into the menu. So, enjoy eating lionfish at The Brasserie Restaurant knowing the conservation effort behind this dish and the low food miles that it took to get to the plate.

Please contact the restaurant with your lion fish catch on 945 1815.

Another inspiring local initiative is the Cayman Swordfish tag and release program that is “single-handedly becoming responsible for more satellite tagging data and science on the swordfish than anywhere else in the world,” according to Gray FishTag research scientist Travis “Tag” Moore.

“The data indicates peak seasons for when the swordfish are in the Cayman waters. The data shows feeding behaviour and the vertical migration patterns. The data can indicate how long swordfish stay around the islands and which islands they stay around the most.

“This information is important to help protect Cayman’s exclusive fishery against international rogue fishing fleets by establishing scientific evidence for international authorities that illustrate these fish are in the Cayman waters for certain time periods.”

How do you intend to celebrate World Oceans Day?

Swordfish surprise just weeks out from Challenge

Posted by on 9th March 2017

IMG 20170225 112710 1  Swordfish surprise just weeks out from Challenge

Imagine dropping a line in the water expecting to catch a snapper and you instead haul up a 270-pound and approximately 10-foot long swordfish. Lewis Wood and his son Malik found themselves in this position 12 days ago about five miles off the coast of Frank Sound, Grand Cayman.

Just two weeks out from the Cayman Swordfish Challenge, the catch was timely, emphasizing the thriving fishery that exists in the local waters.

“This is the first swordfish that I have ever caught,” exclaimed Lewis. “We visit this fishing spot every weekend. It’s right on my backdoor.”

“It was our first drop of the day”, said Malik.

“Normally when we deep drop for snapper we add a plastic leader spliced to the braid as a shock leader “top shot” so it gives a scope when you drop your snapper rig. This allows our snapper rig to lie on the bottom of the ocean giving us an even greater chance to get bites.

“In this instance, I decided to just use straight braided line and luckily we did, otherwise the line wouldn’t have been able to hold the swordfish.”

Within seconds of the line hitting the ocean floor some 430 meters down, Malik felt a sharp pull on the reel.

“It felt like a shark,” he said.

Malik described the line instantly going slack as he began reeling it in.

“I thought that whatever was on the line had broken off, when in fact the swordfish was actually swimming straight up to the surface. Rather than getting hooked, the fish had managed to tangle itself in the line as if it had swum straight into it.”

Three hours later Lewis and Mailk were lifting the swordfish into their 18-foot boat, but not without a fight.

“I had never seen a live swordfish before and when it came to the surface I couldn’t believe it,” Malik said.

“As soon as the fish saw us it quickly swam straight down to about 60 meters. I started reeling it back in with our electric reel and suddenly its entire bill came up out of the water at the bow of the boat.”

The swordfish headed for the ocean floor again and this time didn’t stop until the fishermen were almost to the end of their line.

“We have 467 meters of line on our electric reel and at this point we only had 20 meters of line left! We thought we were going to run out. I gently put my gloved hand on the reel to slow down the pace of the fish, and it responded.”

Lewis and Malik decided to work with the fish rather than against it. “We gently dragged the swordfish heading in the same direction as the ocean current and turned the boat to wind up slack with the electric reel.”

After several hours, their tactic finally prevailed.

So, if you have been enjoying our delicious swordfish dishes at The Brasserie over the last week you have father and son, Lewis and Malik Wood, to thank for their mighty effort out on the water that day.

March in Cricket Square

Posted by on 3rd March 2017

The Brasserie Farmers’ Market celebrates 50 years of the Cayman Agriculture Show!

Garden Gin & Tonic: 5pm, 3 March

There’s nothing quite like a Gin & Tonic to end the working week. Made with fresh garden ingredients like cucumber and fennel, lemon balm, lavender, basil, mint and lemongrass, join us for a special mixology Happy Hour at The Wicket to continue our celebration of the 50th annual Agriculture Show.

FREE juice offer at The Wicket

Buy 10 juices or smoothies from our delicious menu and get one FREE. Collect your Juiced@ card from Sharon at The Wicket and reward yourself with a healthy and delicious treat from our extensive menu that incorporates the freshest seasonal produce on island. In a hurry? Call 927 6419 and order ahead.

St Patrick’s Day: 17 March

Come and celebrate St Patrick’s Day the Irish way with our famous corned beef and cabbage sandwiches in the Brasserie Restaurant and Market, washed down with our Brasserie Purveyors’ artisanal beer specials. While the beer may not be green, our Irish-themed sweets certainly will be!

SWIRL: 5 – 7pm, 30 March

Argentines have two main loves; Malbec and tango. While dancing is optional, experiencing the country’s finest wines is a must. Did you know that Argentina is the fifth largest wine producer globally? SWIRL tickets are CI$30 (incl. grats). Book here.

Final Harvest Dinner for this series

Our March event is already sold out so be sure to book early for the final dinner of this series being held on Thursday 27 April! Enjoy three sustainably innovative courses inspired by the seasonal offerings from The Brasserie’s garden enjoyed with wine pairings. CI$90 (incl. grats). Don’t miss this unforgettable farm-to-table experience. Book here.

Don’t miss our April Cooking Class

Impress the guests at your next dinner party and learn the tips and tricks to preparing a three-course feast from our fabulous chefs Dean Max and Thomas Tennant using fresh and seasonal produce from our garden. CI$90 (incl. grats). Our March class is sold out so book here now for Sunday 30 April, the last class of this series until October!

Pilates in the Park starting soon

Join ENERGY’s Colleen for Power Pilates in the Park on Wednesdays at 7am and Thursdays at 5:30pm from 8th March to 27th April. Classes are held on The Wicket lawn. Drop in for $15 or buy a 10-class pass for $125 and use it for the Park and ENERGY Express Lunch classes. Contact Colleen here.

First Pilates training in Cayman

Cupid isn’t far away – make sure you’ve got a table booked for Tuesday February 14th to celebrate the most romantic of days, Valentines! Chef Thomas will create a cozy menu to snuggle up with while offering a la carte to choose from. Long stem red roses for the ladies. Contact us here to book.

Cayman Swordfish Challenge 2017

One of the most exciting fishing tournaments on the Cayman calendar, the Challenge began with the aim of finding out more about the swordfish population in the local waters. Two days of fishing, 24th and 25th March. CI$20,000 in cash prizes to be won. Click here for information on how to enter.

For the love of swordfish

Posted by on 16th February 2017

Swordfish Challenge 2  For the love of swordfish

Swordfish are one of the most lucrative fish in the world.

That’s according to Gray FishTag research scientist Travis “Tag” Moore, who has over 20 years’ experience as a recreational fresh and saltwater angler.

“Swordfish account for billions of dollars in economic value worldwide. Swordfish steaks are highly prized table fair at fine dining restaurants. Also, swordfish are very popular among recreational anglers, who spend a great deal of money targeting the fish.”

Travis’ involvement in the industry has taken him around the world.

“I worked in Turkey and Morocco as part of an international agreement between the United States and each respective country. I worked with commercial fishermen to design a version of swordfish buoy gear to replace drift gillnet fishing. The use of drift gill net to target swordfish has been banned in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. We were teaching the commercial fishermen how to build and fish more eco-friendly gear type as well as land economically more valuable fish. The work was a success and the fishermen from both countries are now fishing the new gear type.”

He says given the knowledge that swordfish is so highly valued, it’s surprising that we don’t know much about the fish.

Perhaps it’s because they are one of the fastest fish in the ocean, timed at over 50 miles per hour, making them difficult to catch and study.

“Swordfish are also hard to study because of their environment. Swordfish are a deep-water fish, spending the daylight hours at depths around 2000ft. So, conventional methods to catch the fish, much less track or study the fish, are obsolete.”

However, Travis says the Cayman Swordfish tournament is single-handedly becoming responsible for more satellite tagging data then anywhere else in the world.

“The Challenge provides us with a consistent avenue to tag swordfish every year in the Cayman Islands.”

The swordfish feed around the islands during their yearly migration from Canadian waters down to the warmer Caribbean waters. Cayman is quite isolated making this area the perfect feeding ground for the highly migratory travelling fish.

“The data indicates peak seasons for when the swordfish are in the Cayman waters. The data shows feeding behaviour and the vertical migration patterns. The data can indicate how long swordfish stay around the islands and which islands they stay around the most.

“This information is important because it can help anglers to catch more swordfish. The data will also help to protect Cayman’s exclusive fishery against international rogue fishing fleets by establishing scientific evidence for international authorities that illustrate these fish are in the Cayman waters for certain time periods.”

He says the Challenge is the reason that the Cayman Islands is now being recognized as one of the top sword fishing destinations in the world.