Statewide Lionfish Control Efforts
Get Involved to Control Florida's Invasive Lionfish
Are you a diver, seafood lover, or passionate about the environment? Learn about ways to support control efforts by removing lionfish, eating lionfish, and educating others about the effects of lionfish.
Interested in learning how to harvest lionfish?
WHAT: The current most-effective way to remove lionfish is by divers using spearfishing equipment.
WHERE: Although lionfish can be found in a variety of habitats, they are most commonly spotted on high relief structure in offshore waters. The state of Florida keeps data on all public reef sites located around the state. This map will show you information including depth, structure type, condition, and exact coordinates for every public reef around the state.
HOW: Lionfish are easily harvested using a polespear and a containment device. A pole spear is a very simple spearing device that consists of a short pole shaft (usually made of aluminum or fiberglass), a removable multi-prong spear tip, and a rubber band. A containment device is necessary for preventing a lionfish sting and for storing lionfish during a dive.
Are you a diver looking for ways to get involved? Check out some of our programs!
- Participate in a lionfish tournament.
- Lionfish tournaments can significantly reduce local lionfish populations and they are a great way to meet other divers and get involved in the Florida lionfish community.
- To apply for the 2021-2022 Tournament Sponsorship Program, send a FWC Lionfish Tournament Assistance Application to Lionfish@MyFWC.com.
- Participate in one of our Lionfish Harvest Programs.
- Recreational Lionfish Harvest Program 21-22 (NOW CLOSED): Provides an incentive for dive charters and dive shops to conduct lionfish-specific harvesting trips in an effort to increase the number of divers safely and confidently removing lionfish and to increase the number of lionfish removed from Florida waters.
- Commercial Lionfish Harvest Program 21-22 (NOW CLOSED): Divers who possess a Saltwater Products License and sell their harvested lionfish commercially will receive compensation for the weight of their harvest.
- Participate in the Lionfish Challenge
- The Lionfish Challenge is a summer-long lionfish tournament put on by FWC. The Challenge is completely free to enter and open to anyone around the state!
- Sell lionfish harvest to the commercial market.
- Divers must possess a Saltwater Products License to sell commercially-harvested lionfish to a licensed Saltwater Wholesale Dealer. Learn more about FWC’s Commercial Saltwater Licenses.
- Wholesale dealer interested in selling lionfish? Contact us to be added to our list of Florida Lionfish Wholesale Dealers.
- Organize a lionfish removal event from an area where spearfishing is otherwise prohibited.
- FWC issues permits to dive clubs, tournaments, and other organized events to remove lionfish from areas near public fishing piers, jetties, or areas that otherwise prohibit spearfishing activities. Contact us to learn more and apply for a permit.
Have you tried lionfish yet?
Lionfish have become a popular food fish throughout their invaded range! The fillets are firm, white, and flakey in texture and have a mild, non-fishy taste that is comparable to snapper, black sea bass, or hogfish.
While the spines of lionfish do contain venom, the flesh of a lionfish is not venomous or poisonous, making it completely safe to eat!
Lionfish can be found at many restaurants, seafood markets, and grocery stores across Florida. Click here to see a list of restaurants that previously or currently serve lionfish.
Help educate others to increase awareness about invasive lionfish and their effects on native species and habitats.
- Lionfish Educational Exhibit Program (LEEP)
- Approved applicant may be awarded up to $2499 to offset costs associated with the creation of a lionfish educational exhibit at a public facility. Check out the 2022-2023 LEEP Application to learn more
- Tell someone you know about the lionfish invasion
- Check out our teacher resources
- FWC visits classrooms all over the state to spread awareness about the lionfish invasion. We have lesson plans, classroom activities, educational modules, and dissection activities for teachers to use. Click here to learn more.
- Host a Be the Predator Workshop at your local dive shop or dive club
- FWC often visits dive clubs and other local organizations to spread lionfish awareness and educate divers about how they can get involved to stop the spread of the lionfish invasion. If you’re interested in hosting a Be the Predator workshop or presentation, send us an email!
- Check out our Facebook page!
- Click here to visit our Facebook page, and make sure to share our page with your friends!
We want to see your lionfish harvests!
Fill out the form below to share your favorite lionfish harvest photos with us. We love seeing what the Reef Rangers are up to, and we may even use your picture on our website, social media pages, or in other publications!
2022 Lionfish Tournament and Event Calendar
|January 28th, 2022||Destin, FL||Emerald Coast Open Kickoff Party||https://www.facebook.com/events/645251056710917|
|January 29th-30th, 2022||Deerfield Beach, FL||DX Divers Lionfish Tournament||https://dxdivers.com/|
|February 1st- May 12th, 2022||Statewide||Emerald Coast Open Pre-tournament||https://emeraldcoastopen.com/|
|April 22nd- 24th, 2022||Key Largo,FL||REEF Earth Day Lionfish Derby||https://www.reef.org/derby|
|May 13th- 15th, 2022||Destin, FL||Emerald Coast Open||https://emeraldcoastopen.com/|
|May 14th- 15th, 2022||Destin, FL||Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival||https://fwcreefrangers.com/about/lionfish-festival/|
|June 10th- 12th, 2022||Key West, FL||That’s What She Shot||https://www.womankindkeywest.com/twss|
|June 11th- 12th, 2022||St. Petersburg, FL||Tampa Bay Spearfishing Challenge||https://www.tampabayspearfishingclub.org/tournament/|
|July 8th-9th, 2022||Key Largo, FL||Rock the Dock||https://www.reef.org/derby/|
|July 15th-17th, 2022||New Port Richey, FL||Southern Open||https://www.facebook.com/SouthernOpenSpearfishing/|
|September 8th-11th, 2022||Key Largo, FL||Florida Keys Lionfish Derby||https://www.reef.org/derby/|