REEF's 15th annual Florida Keys Lionfish Derby will culminate Sunday August 18, 2024 at the lionfish weigh-in and awards at the REEF campus.

Please contact with questions

Derby ScheduleDerby RegistrationDerby Details

Invaders on Tap - Florida Keys Brewing CompanyLionfish WorkshopsBeach Clean-up

* Due to construction delays the Festival at Postcard Inn will not be held in 2024 but please join us for a week of lionfish events. 

Event Schedule

Thursday, Aug 15

  • 6:30-7:30PM Captain's Meeting for registered derby teams (check-in begins at 6PM)
    • REEF Campus, Key Largo & virtual (link sent out to registrants)

Friday, Aug 16

  •  Fishing sunrise to sundown

Saturday, Aug 17 

Sunday, Aug 18 - NO FISHING

  • 8AM -10AM - Beach Cleanup - Details Coming Soon
  • 8:30 - 11:30AM Team Weigh-in/Fish Drop off
  • 10AM - 2PM Public event - Lionfish scoring, fillet and dissection demonstrations, tastings, games, and team awards at REEF Campus 
  • 1:30PM Awards Ceremony



Early Bird Registration Discounts Available
$90 per team through July 12, 2024

$120 per team on or before August 15, 2024 (6:30PM)

Minimum 2 people per team, maximum 4 people

Registration fee is nonrefundable

How to Participate 

Step 1: Gather your team. Derby teams can be made of 2-4 divers. Decide on what level you will participate (Apex Predators or Reef Defender).

Step 2: Register your team and pay the Registration Fee.

Register and Pay

Step 3: All members of your team need to complete the waiver.

Online Waivers

Step 4: Make sure everyone on your team understands the rules of the Derby.

Derby Rules


  • FISH DROP OFF - REEF Campus - Sunday 8:30AM-11:30AM. No late fish accepted
  • The Captain's Meeting is mandatory for the team captains, and all team members are encouraged to attend.
    • The team captain must be one of the four participants in the derby but does not need to be the captain of the boat. Safe collecting and handling techniques and derby rules will be reviewed. The Captain's meeting will be offered in person and virtually. 
  • Teams wishing to fish in the areas that fall under the FKNMS, FWC, and DEP permit must schedule a time to come to the REEF Campus to pick up packet materials, permits, and flags during the week of August 12 or pick up at the Captain's Meeting. 
  • All lionfish should be well packed on ice and teams must provide enough ice for lionfish, particularly those that will be held overnight.
  • Teams will be able to take at least 80% of their catch after it is measured (REEF will keep some lionfish to use towards education and outreach activities). 


  • Prizes will be awarded for MOST lionfish, SMALLEST and LARGEST lionfish, and a Golden Fish raffle award for all participating teams.
  • During registration, teams must choose to compete in one of two divisions for the MOST Lionfish Prize.
    • Apex Predators Division (More Competitive Division; Greater Prize Money)  
    • Reef Defenders Division (More Casual Division; Lower Prize Money)
  • All teams will compete together for LARGEST and SMALLEST lionfish categories. 
  • All teams will be entered to win the $500 Golden Fish award as long as they check in with their data sheets even if they don't catch fish.
  • All participants will be entered to win individual raffle prizes that will be drawn at Captain's Meeting on Thursday and Awards on Sunday. 
  • Awards will be presented in person and virtually (in-person attendance at awards is not mandatory).
    • Prizes will not be mailed out. Teams must arrange to pick them up if they are not at the awards.









Don't have a boat? Local Charters are available! Call shops for rates and to reserve space.  

  • Quiescence Diving, Key Largo, FL (305 451-2440) - Current availability AM and PM Friday and Saturday. Private charter (6 people for $495 half day, $850 Full Day (additional cost $90/$180 for guide) -must book entire boat. Boats limited. Call to book.
  • Conch Republic Divers, Islamorada, Fl (305-852-1655) - Lionfish trips PM both Friday and Saturday. 6 spots only on Friday. Call to book. 
  • Looe Key Reef Resort and Dive Center, Looe Key, FL (305-872-2215, Curtiss Carter) - Lionfish Dive Trips AM Friday and Saturday. Call to book.
  • Key Dives, Islamorada, FL (305-664-2211) - Lionfish Dive Trip AM only both Friday and Saturday. Call to book.


Need gear for the derby? 

ZooKeeper will donate 20% of your purchase when you use this link. For 10% off your order, use the coupon code REEFZK.

Waterlust donates 5% lionfish apparel sales to REEF and a portion of all sales if you use this link


Special Thanks to our 2024 Program Sponsors!