2022 Earth Day Lionfish Derby

This is our 9th annual Florida Keys "locals" derby; fishing allowed in Monroe County waters only.

Event Schedule

Friday, April 22 - Captain's Meeting* for registered derby teams - 6:30-7:30PM (6:15PM check in), REEF Campus Key Largo & virtual (link sent out to registrants)

Saturday, April 23 - Fishing all day, sunrise to sundown, Monroe County waters

Sunday, April 24 - No fishing, all fish must be dropped off at Sharkey's Sharkbite Grill, Key Largo between 9AM-12PM. Awards Ceremony 2PM.

*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. 

IMPORTANT: 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 April 17 or pick up at the Captain's Meeting. 

How much does it cost to participate? 

Early Bird Registration Discount Available

$75 per team ends on March 25, 2022

$100 per team, April 22, 2022 (6:15PM)

Minimum 2 people per team, maximum 4 people

How to Participate

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

Step 2: Register your team and pay the Registration Fee. - Sorry, registration is now closed for the 2022 Earth Day Derby.

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


Prizes will be awarded for MOST lionfish, SMALLEST and LARGEST lionfish, and SMALLEST LIVE 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)









Final cash prizes will be based on registration in each division supplemented by REEF sponsorships. If there are not at least 3 teams registered and competing in each division, the divisions will be combined. All teams will compete together for LARGEST lionfish, SMALLEST lionfish, and SMALLEST LIVE lionfish categories.

Additional Details

  • 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).
  • Teams can also submit their catch through FWC's Commercial Lionfish Harvest Program
  • Teams wishing to sell their fish must organize their own buyer.
  • Drop off time at Sharkey's Sharkbite Grill, Key Largo is Sunday April 24, 2022 from 9AM-12PM.
  • Teams must attend the Awards Ceremony at Sharkey's to win prizes.
  • All lionfish should be well packed on ice. 

Don't have a boat? Local charters available. Call shops for rates or contact lionfish@REEF.org for more details.

Rainbow Reef, Key Largo, FL 305-451-7171

Islamorada Dive Center, Islamorada, FL 305-664-3483

COVID-19 precautions

REEF will be following all CDC guidelines and we encourage participants who are eligible to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. Participants are also encouraged to wear masks when in large crowds, maintain social distancing, and frequently wash hands. All Derby events will be held outdoors or be offered virtually. REEF will be increasing sanitization, providing numerous hand sanitizing stations, and following best practices for safe food handling. We are continuously monitoring the status of COVID-19 within the region and the safety of our REEF family is our priority. 

Special Thanks to our 2022 Program Sponsors! 









Become a Sponsor