The third annual Pensacola Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday May 20-21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Plaza de Luna, located at 900 S. Palafox St. The goal of the event is to raise awareness about lionfish, a nonnative, invasive species that has a potential negative impact on native species and habitats.
This event will include celebrity chef and fillet demonstrations, lionfish tastings, family-friendly games and activities and more than 40 art, diving and conservation vendors.
To participate in the tournament hosted by the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition, visit the Lionfish World Championship website at LionfishWorldChampionship.com.
Numerous sponsors will be on hand including Escambia County’s Marine Resources Division, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Whole Foods Market, iHeartMedia, Coast Watch Alliance, Visit Pensacola, Florida Sea Grant, the city of Pensacola, Navarre Beach Marine Science Station, tournament host Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition, Guy Harvey Magazine, SHELLArt, Dive Rite, ZooKeeper and Dive Pros.
Recreational and commercial lionfish hunters are invited to get rewarded for their lionfish removal efforts by participating in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s revamped Lionfish Challenge. The program starts on Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (May 20) and will end on Labor Day (Sept. 4). New this year, lionfish hunters can participate in either a recreational or commercial category (all participants who have an active Saltwater Products License and who have had commercial lionfish sales within the past year must participate in the commercial category).
Rewards for recreational and commercial participants include:
- A commemorative coin to mark membership.
- An event T-shirt.
- Lionfish Hall of Fame recognition on the MyFWC.com website.
- If qualified before July 26, the opportunity to take an additional spiny lobster per day during the 2017 sport season (July 26-27).
Participants may also qualify for additional prizes such as a reusable lionfish sting heat pack, customized neck gaiter, customized tumbler and pole spear with grip kit.
The recreational and commercial harvesters who check in the most lionfish will be crowned Florida’s Lionfish King or Queen and Florida’s Commercial Champion, and both will be recognized at the 2017 Lionfish Safari Sunday, Sept. 10 in St. Petersburg.
To enter the program, participants must register online at MyFWC.com/Lionfish. Registration opens Monday, May 8.
After registration, participants may email photos of their first 25 qualifying lionfish (or trip tickets totaling at least 25 pounds sold for commercial harvesters) to Lionfish@MyFWC.com. Be sure to include the name of the harvester, the date harvested and your signature in the photo (written on a piece of paper next to the fish for example). Participants in the recreational category must bring the tails of any lionfish harvested in excess of the initial 25 to an FWC-approved checkpoint (list will be available Saturday, May 20 on MyFWC.com/Lionfish by clicking on “Lionfish Challenge”).
For more information, contact the FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management at 850-487-0554 or visit one of the following links provided by FWC: