MOREHEAD CITY, CARTERET COUNTY -

Carteret County is in the midst of a 10-day tournament to spear and eat lionfish, an invasive species that has no natural predator in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Daily News of Jacksonville reports that the first "If You Can't Beat 'em, Eat 'em" spearfishing tournament began Friday.

The tournament is being held to raise awareness about lionfish while encouraging the catch of the fish and promoting its potential as food.

Libby Eaton is owner of Bistro-by-the-Sea restaurant in Morehead City and is on the board of directors for Carteret Catch, which promotes locally caught seafood. She brought up the idea of a tournament after making a trip to Belize.

Anyone certified as a scuba diver and holding a North Carolina Coastal Recreational Fishing License may spearfish through the week.