Sat, Mar

Key Largo Lionfish Derby

Invasive Species

Join REEF at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park for the 7th Annual Key Largo Lionfish Derby. You can compete for cash prizes and enter to win great raffle prizes!


KEY LARGO, Florida Keys -- Divers can help preserve Florida Keys reefs and earn cash prizes during a fun, competitive derby event to capture and remove as many non-native lionfish as possible from Keys waters.

Reef Environmental Education Foundation is sponsoring the one-day derby Saturday, Sept. 10, at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, located at mile marker 102.5 in Key Largo.

REEF partners with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and the dive community to support hands-on, attentive opportunities for Florida Keys visitors who enjoy the underwater resources to take action and remove Lionfish. The popular aquarium fish is believed to have been introduced to Florida waters during the 1980s.

Derby divers can compete for more than $3,500 in prize money. First- through third-place teams are rewarded for the most Lionfish captured as well as the largest and smallest caught.

Teams of up to four people can hunt from sunrise to 5 p.m., collecting Lionfish by netting or spearing while on scuba, snorkeling or free diving.

The public is invited to watch the derby scoring and filleting demonstrations and taste free Lionfish samples. A raffle and awards ceremony is planned for 6 p.m.

Registration fee is $120 per team and includes one pair of puncture-resistant gloves. A mandatory participants meeting covering Lionfish ecology, safe handling, collecting tools and techniques is set for Friday, Sept. 9, at 6:30 p.m.

Participants can dive with a professional dive operator or from a private vessel.

Event information: or 305-852-0030
Key Largo visitor information: or 800-822-1088
Florida Keys diving: