Capture and remove an invasive species underneath the Florida Keys waters for the chance to win prize money. Reef Environmental Education Foundation’s 12th annual Florida Keys Lionfish Derby & Festival, set for Sept. 9-12, is bringing lionfish hunting, dissection demonstrations, tastings, entertainment and more.
Competitive divers will hunt for lionfish within the Apex Predators division, while causal divers will be in the Reef Defenders division. Division winners will receive prize money.
Teams of two to four people can sign up before Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. Registration is $100 per team. The hunting begins at sunrise to sunset from Friday, Sept. 10 to Saturday, Sept. 11. Lionfish hunters can utilize netting or spears while scuba diving, free diving or snorkeling. Participants must follow federal and state fishing regulations.
Lionfish hunters must turn in their catches by 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12 at the scoring station located at The Postcard Inn Resort & Marina, MM 84, oceanside. REEF Campus in Key Largo, MM 98.3, media, and Mote Marine Laboratory’s field station, near MM 24, on Summerland Key are other drop-off locations.
A captain’s meeting will take place on Thursday, Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at REEF’s campus in Key Largo.
Festivities at The Postcard Inn on Sunday, Sept. 12, are free and open to the public. With scoring and awards also comes music from The Copper Tones, games, raffle prizes, environmental booths and lionfish fillet and dissection demonstrations. Festivities conclude at 3 p.m.
Visit reef.org for more information.