Lionfish Derby at Mote
The second annual Sarasota Lionfish Derby is an exciting and environmentally beneficial event that invites SCUBA divers and snorkelers to compete to collect as many lionfish as possible in an effort to control the spread of this invasive species. (Scroll to bottom for registration.)
The Derby will be hosted by Mote Marine Laboratory, a world-class marine science institution, in cooperation with Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), which helps study and address the lionfish invasion and sanctions official Lionfish Derbies, and ZooKeeper, the Sarasota-based manufacturer of the leading lionfish containment unit used throughout invaded areas.
Lionfish are venomous, fast-reproducing fish that pose a major threat to Florida’s native species and ecosystems. They consume more than 70 different species of fish and crustaceans, and in heavily invaded areas they have reduced fish populations by up to 90 percent and continue to consume native fishes at unsustainable rates.
The only controlling predators of invasive lionfish in Florida are humans — and the fish are delicious to eat. Lionfish Derbies are an important way to harvest large numbers of this invasive species that has spread along the eastern Atlantic coast, through the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
The Derby will take place from July 10 – 12, with the captains’ meeting on July 10, lionfish hunting July 11 in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico spanning from Collier County to Escambia County and the lionfish weigh-in July 12.