Derby removes 429 invasive lionfish from Sarasota's Gulf waters
Divers removed 429 invasive lionfish from the Gulf of Mexico during the third annual Sarasota Lionfish Derby, which drew more than 300 visitors to its culminating event today, July 10, at Mote Marine Laboratory.
The Sarasota, Florida-based derby was a partnership effort among Mote, a world-class marine science institution, Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), which helps study and address the lionfish invasion and sanctions official Lionfish Derbies, and ZooKeeper, the leader in lionfish containment throughout invaded areas. This was the first derby in the 2016 Summer Lionfish Derby Series coordinated by REEF. Three upcoming derbies are accepting registrations at: www.reef.org/lionfish/derbies.
During the Sarasota derby from July 8-10, six teams of 19 Florida divers vied to catch the most lionfish, the largest lionfish and the smallest lionfish in Gulf of Mexico waters ranging from Collier to Escambia County.
On July 10, more than $3,500 in total cash prizes were awarded to first, second and third place winners in each category during an awards ceremony that filled Mote’s WAVE Center to capacity. Leading up to the ceremony, top local chefs from Indigenous Restaurant, Mattison’s Restaurants & Catering, Seafood Shack and Beach House prepared tasty lionfish dishes for the public.