Lionfish Challenge

2019 Lionfish Challenge

Lionfish Challenge Removal Incentive Program

Goal: To encourage and reward recreational and commercial divers for removing lionfish from Florida waters.


Timeline: May 18, 2019 (Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day) through Sept. 2, 2019 (Labor Day)

Overview

  • Statewide program
  • Recreational and commercial participant categories
  • Checkpoints located statewide for harvest submission
  • Tiered prize system to encourage continued harvest
  • Cash prizes for largest and smallest lionfish

How to Qualify

  • All participants required to register prior to participation.

Recreational Category

  • Harvest 25 or more lionfish
  • Submit photo of harvest
    • Photo requirement: Include harvester name, date of harvest, and signature. Lionfish must be displayed clearly for staff to obtain an accurate individual count.
    • Note: FWC reserves the right to deny submission if participant fails to fulfill the requirements for verification as described above.
  • Submit tails (after first 25) to checkpoint (listed below and online)
    • Place tails in a plastic sandwich bag(s): include harvester name, phone number, date of harvest, and number of tails.
    • Complete the 2019 FWC Lionfish Challenge Submission Form. Checkpoints will retain bags for verification by FWC staff.
    • Send a copy of the Submission Form to Lionfish@MyFWC.com and keep an additional copy with tails.

Commercial Category

  • Participants with active Saltwater Products License and lionfish sales within the last year will automatically be included in this category.
  • Submit photo of electronic trip tickets
    • Trip ticket requirement: Harvester name, date of harvest, amount harvested (lbs.), and signature

Rewards

  • All qualified participants (submission of 25 lionfish/lbs.) receive:
    • Commemorative coin
      • Resource-based incentive: 2019 coin is valid for 1 spiny lobster per person per day in addition to the daily bag limit during the 2019 sport season (July 24-25)
    • 2019 Lionfish Challenge performance fishing shirt
    • Entry in raffle
    • Feature in FWC Lionfish Hall of Fame
  • Tiered Prizes
    • 75 lionfish (or 150 lbs.) – customized neck gaiter, reusable heat pack for stings, and TurtleSkin puncture-resistant gloves
    • 150 lionfish (or 300 lbs.) – customized beach towel, Engel Coolers silipint cup, and fillet knife
    • 250 lionfish (or 600 lbs.) – Neritic Diving polespear and grip kit
    • 400 lionfish (or 1,200 lbs.) – customized 85 quart Engel Cooler
  • Raffle Drawings
  • Cash Prizes

Lionfish King/Queen: Most lionfish (by number) submitted by a recreational participant

  • Lionfish King/Queen trophy
  • Feature article in FWC’s January 2020 Saltwater Regulations publication
  • Featured prominently in the FWC Lionfish Hall of Fame
  • HP 100 SCUBA cylinder
  • $500 for SCUBA air fills

2nd Place Lionfish King/Queen

  • HP 100 SCUBA cylinder
  • $250 for SCUBA air fills

3rd Place Lionfish King/Queen

  • HP 100 SCUBA cylinder
  • $100 for SCUBA air fills

Commercial Champion: Most lionfish (by weight) submitted by a commercial participant

  • Lionfish King/Queen trophy
  • Feature article in FWC’s January 2020 Saltwater Regulations publication
  • Featured prominently in the FWC Lionfish Hall of Fame
  • HP 100 SCUBA cylinder
  • $500 for SCUBA air fills

2nd Place Commercial Champion

  • HP 100 SCUBA cylinder
  • $250 for SCUBA air fills

3rd Place Commercial Champion

  • HP 100 SCUBA cylinder
  • $100 for SCUBA air fills

View photos from the 2016-2018 Lionfish Challenge

All participants must register for the 2019 Lionfish Challenge prior to submitting lionfish to the program. The registration form will be available early May 2019.

How to submit your harvest to the 2019 Lionfish Challenge:

If you are a Recreational participant:

  • Instructions for harvest submission up to 25 lionfish:
    • Take photo of lionfish and submit through the electronic Harvest Submission form.
      • Photo requirement: Include harvester name, date of harvest, and signature. Lionfish must be displayed clearly for staff to obtain an accurate count.
  • Instructions for harvest submission after first 25 lionfish:
    • Remove tails from lionfish and bring to a local checkpoint
      • Tail submission requirement: Remove tails and place in a plastic sandwich bag. Include harvester name, phone number, date of harvest, and number of tails.
    • Checkpoint staff must complete the 2019 FWC Lionfish Challenge Submission Form and send a copy to Lionfish@MyFWC.com.
    • Checkpoints will retain bag of tails and a copy of the Submission Form for verification by FWC staff.

If you are a Commercial participant:

  • Submit photo or copy of trip ticket through the electronic Harvest Submission form.
    • Trip ticket requirement: Include harvester name, date of harvest, amount harvested (lbs.), and signature.

Note: FWC reserves the right to deny submission if participant fails to fulfill the requirements for verification as described above.

 

All participants must register prior to submitting their harvest.

Purpose: Recreational harvesters, after submission of their first 25 lionfish, must remove lionfish tails, place in plastic bag(s), complete the 2019 Lionfish Challenge Submission Form and bring to local checkpoint for verification of harvest. Checkpoints will retain tails and send a copy of the form to Lionfish@MyFWC.com for harvest submission.

Interested in participating as a 2019 Lionfish Challenge checkpoint? Contact Lionfish@MyFWC.com for more information and instructions.

Bay County

Panama City Diving
106 Thomas Drive, Panama City, FL 32408

Diver’s Den
3120 Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach, FL 32408

Dive Locker
1010 Thomas Drive, Panama City, FL 32408

Panama City Dive Center
4823 Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach, FL 32408

Brevard County

Hatts Diving Headquarters
2006 Front Street, Melbourne, FL 32901

Broward County

Force-E Scuba Center – Pompano Beach
1312 North Federal Highway, Pompano Beach, FL 33431

Charlotte County

Gaspar’s Dive N Board
2961 Placida Rd #3, Englewood, FL 34224

Fantasea Scuba
3781 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33952

Citrus County

Crystal River Watersports
2380 N Suncoast Boulevard, Crystal River, FL 34428

Bird’s Underwater
320 NW US Highway 19, Crystal River, FL 34428

Dixie County

Above SeaHorse Reef
16812 SE Highway 19, Cross City, FL 32628

Escambia County

Escambia County DMR
3363 W. Park Place, Pensacola, FL 32505

MBT Divers
3920 Barrancas Avenue, Pensacola, FL 32507

Gulf County

Daly’s Watersports
317 Monument Avenue, Port St. Joe, FL 32456

Hernando County

Diver City Aqua Vertical
9268 Cortez Blvd, Weeki Wachee, FL 34613

Hillsborough County

Woods and Water Scuba
124 Edwards Avenue, Brandon, FL 33510

Adventure Outfitters
4316 S. Manhattan Avenue, Tampa, FL 33611

Lee County

Captain Pete’s Diving Outfitters
1413 Colonial Boulevard, Ft. Myers

Dean’s Dive Center, Inc.
16964 Alico Mission Way, Fort Myers 33098

Manatee County

Scuba Quest
3318 Manatee Avenue W, Bradenton, FL 34205

Martin County

Deep Six Dive & Watersports – Stuart
2525 NW Federal Highway, Stuart, FL 34994

Stuart Dive Shop
3317 SE Federal Highway, Stuart, FL 33497

Miami-Dade County

Austin’s Diving Center
10525 S Dixie Highway, Miami, FL 33156

 

Monroe County

Tildens Scuba Center
4650 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL 33050

Florida Keys Diving Center
90451 Old Highway, Tavernier, FL 33070

Captain’s Corner Dive Center
125 Ann Street, Key West, FL 33040

Finz Dive Center
5130 Overseas Highway, Key West, FL 33040

Okaloosa County

Discovery Dive World – Valparaiso
92 S John Sims Parkway, Valparaiso, FL 32580

ScubaTech of NW Florida
301 Harbor Boulevard (Highway 98), Destin

Palm Beach County

Pura Vida Divers
2513 Beach Court, Riviera Beach, FL 33404

Force-E Scuba Center – Boca Raton
2621 North Federal Highway, Boca Raton, FL 33431

Boynton Beach Dive Center
212 S Federal Highway, Boynton Beach, FL 33435

Narcosis Dive Company
200 E 13th Street, West Palm Beach, FL 33404

Florida Scuba Divers
635 Northlake Boulevard, North Palm Beach, FL 33408

Pasco County

Super Sports And Scuba
7129 US-19, New Port Richey, FL 34652

Scuba West
6815 Tower Drive, Hudson, FL 34667

Pinellas County

Aquatic Obsessions Scuba
6193 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33710

Jim’s Dive Shop
9385 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg, FL 33708

Mac’s Sports Inc. Clearwater
2126 Drew Street, Clearwater, FL 33765

Heroes Dive Center
2109 Main St. A, Dunedin

Sunshine Scuba School – Largo
1901 West Bay Drive Suite 10, Largo, FL 33770

Sarasota County

Ocean Pro Dive Shop
2259 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL 34239

Venice Dive Center
902 S Tamiami Trail, Nokomis, FL 34275

Florida Underwater Sports
6920 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231

St. Johns County

UF Whitney Marine Lab
9505 Ocean Shore Boulevard, St. Augustine, FL 32080

iDive Florida
854 Anastasia Blvd, St. Augustine, FL 32080

St. Lucie County

Dive Odyssea
621 N 2nd Street, Fort Pierce, FL 34950

Volusia County

Atlantic Scuba
724 Ridgewood Avenue, Holly Hill, FL 32117

Discover Diving Dive Center LLC
92 Dunlawton Avenue, Port Orange, FL 32127

Spruce Creek Scuba
1646 Taylor Road, Port Orange, FL 32128

Wakulla County

Wakulla Diving Center
2784 Coastal Highway, Crawfordville, FL 32327

Raffle Winners

The final raffle drawing will be held on
August 28, 2019

June 5th

Ken Ayers
Johnoly Conley
Frank Braat
Paul Fournier
Julie Cage
John McCain
Tyler Mahler
Terry Pitcher
Richard Schmidt
Tom Wammack
Michael Ward
Rachel Bowman

June 19th

Carlos Orozco
Donald Richitt
Albert Sloan
Mark Konz
Samuel Chavers
Clint Retherford
Christopher Rowell
Samuel Falcon
Claude Meade
Shea Lowe

July 3rd

Jeff Pacha
Brian Reckenbeil
Dawn Richitt
David Garrett
Tony Bebb
John Herrera
Ritchie Zacker
Jane Corliss
Casey Brann
Curtis Lee
Eric Winterstein
Jason Thompson
Harold Davis
Curt Matthews

July 17th

Emily Pepperman
Nikkie Cox
Robert Grundwald
Frank Davis
Tim Watts
Quinn Atkinson
Carl Antonik
Jason Bernier
Isidoro Bedoya

July 31

Danny Ward
William Mason
James Glover
Emily Dark
John Bentley
Edwin Errington
Laura Warner

August 14

Francis Sullivan
Daniel Pylate
Larry Benning
Joshua Livingston
Devon Pharo
James Spencer
Klayton Harmon
Rick Warner
Teresa Hattaway
Wayne Moler

Lionfish Challenge Raffle Rules

  1. This contest is the being conducted by the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation located at P.O. Box 11010, Tallahassee, FL 32302.
  2. Winners of the raffle drawing are eligible to receive one of a number of prizes donated by our sponsors including:
    • $50 gift card for dive tank refills
    • Neritic Nexus Gloves
    • Zookeeper Lionfish Containment Unit
    • HP 100 SCUBA cylinder
    • Customized Reef Rangers YETI Tumbler
    • Stream2Sea Reef Sentinel Kit
    • LioNator Polespear, snips, and t-shirt
    • LionLift kits from Toothless Life
    • Polespears from Florida Underwater Sports
    • Color-Dive lenses from Customatic Optics
    • Additional raffle prizes will be announced as items are donated.
  3. Current employees of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are NOT ELIGIBLE to apply for or win any of the Lionfish Challenge raffle prizes.
  4. There is no cost to enter to win. To be eligible to win the participant must complete a Harvest Submission Form and upload a photo of their first 25 lionfish harvested in Florida waters to FWCReefRangers.com.
  5. Participants will receive one raffle entry upon completion of Harvest Submission Form.
  6. Participants cannot win multiple raffle prizes during the Lionfish Challenge.
  7. Winners will be randomly drawn, by 10AM ET on the following dates: June 5, 2019 (11 winners); June 19, 2019 (11 winners); July 3, 2019 (11 winners); July 17, 2019 (11 winners); August 14, 2019 (11 winners); August 28, 2019 (11 winners). Drawings will be made at the office of the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Inc., using a computer program designed for random selection. The winner will be notified via email and will have five (5) business days after notification to verify their shipping address. Otherwise it will be offered to the next alternate selected in the drawing.
  8. Raffle prizes are awarded to winners in the order they were drawn. Raffle prizes are NOT exchangeable.
  9. Participants may choose not to accept their raffle prize. In this instance the raffle prize will be entered back into the prize pool and the participant will have forfeited their entry into the drawing.
  10. Void where prohibited by law.
  11. The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reserves the right to use photographs of and quotes from the winner in publications and video presentations. Raffle winners may be showcased on FWCReefRangers.com and Facebook.com/fwcreefrangers.
  12. Prizes are taxable and will be reported to the IRS as appropriate. Please check with your tax advisor should you have any questions.
Largest and Smallest Lionfish Leaderboard

Largest

  1. Ron Surrency – 434 mm
  2. Joshua Livingston – 428 mm
  3. Koa Viravong – 412 mm

Smallest

  1. Nikkie Cox – 37 mm
  2. Ken Ayers – 45 mm
  3. Alex Fogg – 52 mm

*Each individual is only eligible for one prize between the two categories. Only the most competitive fish from each individual will be counted.

Rules and Requirements

To encourage divers to continue removing lionfish from Florida waters and conserve our marine resources, FWC and its partners are introducing additional categories for largest and smallest lionfish to the existing Lionfish Challenge. Divers will be rewarded for the top three submissions for largest and smallest lionfish at the end of the Lionfish Challenge. The addition of these size categories to the program aims to increase statewide removal efforts of all sizes of lionfish. Divers will be able to track current standings of largest and smallest lionfish submissions on the FWC Reef Rangers website.

Successful participants will be eligible to receive cash prizes up to $3,000 thanks to the generous donations by Challenge partners: American Sportfishing Association, National Marine Manufacturer’s Association, Yamaha Motors, and Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, Inc.

How to Participate

Submission Requirements

  • To submit a lionfish for the largest or smallest category, please promptly call the Division of Marine Fisheries Management Main Office at 850-487-0554 during business hours. Staff will direct you to the closest approved location for receiving your lionfish.
  • Lionfish must be received by an approved FWC office within 4 days of harvest.
  • All lionfish submitted to the largest and/or smallest category must remain fresh and well iced (NOT frozen).
  • FWC staff will measure, photograph, verify and store all submissions to this category for the duration of the Lionfish Challenge (ends Sept. 2)

Rewards

  • Smallest lionfish
    • 1st place – $3,000
    • 2nd place – $1,500
    • 3rd place – $500
  • Largest lionfish
    • 1st place – $3,000
    • 2nd place – $1,500
    • 3rd place – $500

Rewards will be distributed after the conclusion of the Lionfish Challenge on Sept. 2, 2019.

Terms and Conditions

FWC reserves the right to deny reward if the participant fails to fulfill the requirements for valid submission. FWC is not liable for any incidences that occur during the lionfish harvesting trips. Participants must harvest lionfish during the program timeline in order to be eligible for reward. Individual participants in the Lionfish Challenge are only eligible to place once and receive one cash prize for submission of largest or smallest lionfish. FWC will ensure consistent measuring procedures for all submissions. A participant’s self-reported measurement will not be counted as a submission. All size determinations made by FWC staff are final.

Additional Information

Visit FWCReefRangers.com or contact the FWC Lionfish Team at Lionfish@MyFWC.com or 850-487-0554 for more information.

Hall of Fame

Recreational Category (Top 10)

1. Ken Ayers – 775

2. Shea Lowe – 725

3. Joshua Falkner – 659

4. John McCain – 561

5. Robert Stackhouse – 558

6. Curt Matthews – 427

7. Jeff Pacha – 425 ; Dawn Richitt – 425

8. Kevin Ward – 403

9. Tim Shivers – 310

10. Robert Grundwald – 177

Commercial Category (Top 10)

1. Joshua Livingston – 2032.51 lbs

2. Ron Surrency – 1720 lbs

3. Alex Fogg – 993.5 lbs

4. Russell Peters – 680.25 lbs

5. Barry Shively – 634.9 lbs

6. Rachel Bowman – 491.31 lbs

7. David Garrett – 432 lbs

8. John Herrera – 423.7 lbs

9. Clint Retherford – 191.3 lbs

10. James Glover – 172.8 lbs

Tier 5
Participants have submitted at least 400 lionfish (1,200 lbs commercial)

Joshua Livingston

John McCain

Shea Lowe

Joshua Falkner

Ron Surrency

Robert Stackhouse

Jeff Pacha

Ken Ayers

Kevin Ward

Curt Matthews

Dawn Richitt


Tier 4
Participants have submitted at least 250 lionfish (600 lbs commercial)

Alex Fogg

Barry Shively

Tim Shivers

Russell Peters


Tier 3
Participants have submitted at least 150 lionfish (300 lbs commercial)

John Herrera

Rachel Bowman

Danny Ward

Robert Grundwald

David Murphy

Paul DeCuir

David Garrett


Tier 2
Participants have submitted at least 75 lionfish (150 lbs commercial)

Carl Antonik

Clint Retherford

Daniel Pylate

James Glover

Carlos Orozco

Nikkie Cox

Jennifer Ford

Eric Cote

Jane Corliss

Tim Watts


Qualifiers
Participants have submitted at least 25 lionfish (25 lbs commercial)

Johnoly Conley

Dale Kortum

David Lehrke

Hunter Ledbetter

Frank Braat

Charlene Reedy

Jason Foote

Brian Reckenbeil

Francis Sullivan

Paul Fournier

Donald Richitt

Emily Pepperman

Quinn Atkinson

Julie Cage

Jason Thompson

Tyler Mahler

William Mason

Albert Sloan

Mark Konz

Terry Pitcher

Richard Schmidt

Samuel Chavers

Daniel Schauer

Fred Jennings

Tom Wammack

Teresa Hattaway

Stephen Sanders

Chris Urban

Matt Finn

Dee Pacha

Devon Pharo

Eric Winterstein

Christopher Rowell

Tony Bebb

Annie Beattie

James Spencer

Misty Matthews

Dawn Davis

Frank Davis

Claude Meade

David Connerth

Ritchie Zacker

Julie Higgs

Harold Davis

Casey Brann

Curtis Lee

Isidoro Bedoya

Michael Hoffman

John Callaham

Robert V Simpson

Steve Traxler

Larry Benning

April Tracy

Emily Dark

Mike Littleton

Jason Bernier

Peter Button

John Bentley

Debra Wolf

Klayton Harmon

Deborah Durrance

Chad Lisi

Harrison Brann

Tony Crumrine

Larry Golden

Nicole Pacha

Edwin Errington

Allie ElHage

Mark Eglington

Dustin Warner

Samuel Falcon

Michael Ward

Grayson Shepard

Steve Schack

Jonathan Pacha

Rick Warner

Laura Warner

Brooks Feeser

Mandy Paramore

Wayne Moler

Lucja Rice

Amy Rose

John Gillies

Interested in sponsoring or participating as a checkpoint?