This Week’s Dive Report

Summer is definitely here, and we are all about it. Conditions remained ideal throughout the week, into the weekend. Winds started picking up on Saturday, as we got on the water for REEF’s 12th annual Florida Keys Lionfish Derby & Festival. This bi-annual event is important to galvanize awareness of the invasive lionfish problem we have in the Keys. 

For the tournament, we hit up spots where we’d been seeing lionfish regularly. Lionfish are dangerous for local reefs because they have a voracious appetite and can clear out a reef head of critical benthic fish in a very short time. 

These fish can live in shallows or deep waters, so we look for them whenever we dive. They also have no natural predators in the Keys and Caribbean, so once they’re here, it’s really hard to get rid of them. That’s where REEF’s derbies come in and other events that raise awareness and get divers in the water focused on lionfish eradication.

Winning team ‘Forever Young’ with a tournament record 564 lionfish harvested over the two day tournament this weekend. TONY YOUNG/Contributed

Next Week’s Dive Report

Conditions this week are forecasted to be much the same as last week. There will be minimal winds and good visibility. These really are the best months in the Keys to dive, so get out there!

Conservation Update

The Keys are full of fun ways to dive and give back to our beautiful ocean environment. Invasive species removal is one facet of reef care that we participate in, but more most consistent efforts involve coral restoration with I.CARE. You’ve heard me talk about these dives; now, come join one!

If that isn’t enough, Saturday, Sept. 14, is also a marine debris clean-up tournament hosted at the Postcard Inn Resort. Basically, there are so many ways for you to participate in critical citizen-science and diving with a purpose. If you aren’t sure which will work best for you, give us a call and we’d be glad to help you.

Conservation Tip

It’s a constant battle keeping our oceans and shorelines clean of debris. Please be responsible with your trash and help keep our oceans clean.

I.CARE Tip

This Saturday, Sept. 14, Islamorada Dive Center will host the I.CARE coral planting trips.

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Eric Billips is is the owner, captain and instructor at Islamorada Dive Center and Floridia Keys Dive Center. He specializes in scuba, rebreather, spearfishing and captaining in the Florida Keys