Being a Reef Ranger means that you protect your local reefs from the potential effects of lionfish. Reef Rangers pledge to remove lionfish from their chosen reefs several times a year to control the local population.
- Reef Rangers should be SCUBA certified through a recognized organization (PADI, NAUI, SSI, etc.) OR a snorkeler/skin diver.
- Reef Rangers should have a saltwater fishing license unless they are fishing for lionfish using a Hawaiian sling, a pole spear, a hand-held dip net or any spearing device specifically designed for lionfish.
- Reef Rangers must sign up and select a reef to adopt and protect.
Non-divers can sponsor a Reef Ranger team to assist with their removal efforts. Lionfish are rarely caught by hook and line, but you can still participate as a Reef Ranger by fishing from the surface at your adopted reef site.
Visit the Reef Ranger Actions page and sign up today! Or visit the Map of Florida’s Artificial Reefs and select a reef to adopt.
- View Harvest Equipment & Information on the Lionfish page.
- If using a pole spear, be sure to use a tip with multiple prongs to prevent the fish from sliding down the pole while harvesting.
- Collect lionfish in a puncture-resistant containment unit while scuba diving.
- Wear puncture-resistant gloves to prevent getting stung.
- Avoid venomous spines while handling the fish. Watch our video “How to Fillet a Lionfish” to know where the spines are located.
- If they are removing lionfish, then they are helping our cause. Let other divers know about the Reef Rangers program and how they can contribute to statewide removal efforts.
- If the lionfish populations are being controlled on your adopted reef by other divers, you can adopt another reef.
FWC encourages divers to remove invasive lionfish whenever safely possible. Lionfish threaten native fish and wildlife populations and have no natural control mechanism in our waters. By increasing awareness and statewide removal efforts, the negative impacts of lionfish can be reduced.
Reef Rangers is free to join and divers can participate on a volunteer-basis. If additional funding is needed to help your team be successful, consider requesting a sponsor.