2021 Florida Keys Lionfish Derby & Festival
REEF's 12th annual event will include two full days of lionfish fishing culminating in a family-friendly festival at picturesque Postcard Inn Resort & Marina. The festival is open to the public and will include Lionfish scoring, fillet and dissection demonstrations, Lionfish tastings, Lionfish games and crafts, raffle prizes, and other activities and products from 30 environmentally-minded vendors. Chefs will be providing lionfish cooking demonstrations and special dishes and drink special will be available.
Live Music by South Florida's Soulgrass Band The Copper Tones
Festival vendor space available for nonprofits, government organizations, and artisinal vendors.
Thursday, Sept. 9 6:30PM - Captain's Meeting (details below)
Friday, Sept. 10 and Saturday, Sept. 11 - Fishing sunrise to sundown
Sunday, Sept. 12 - No fishing; final drop-off 11AM
11AM - 3PM Festival at Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina in Islamorada, Florida
Awards Ceremony 2:30PM
How much does it cost to participate?
Early Bird Registration Discounts Available
$75 per team on or before July 9, 2021
$85 per team on or before August 9. 2021
$100 per team on or before September 9, 2021 (6PM)
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 on what level you will participate (Apex Predatory or Reef Defender)
Step 2: Pay the Registration Fee for your team.
Step 3: Register your team.
Step 4: All members of your team need to complete the wavier.
Step 5: Make sure everyone on your team understands the rules of the Derby.
Prizes will be awarded for MOST lionfish, SMALLEST and LARGEST lionfish.
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 prize categories of over $6000 will be announced soon. If there are not at least 3 teams registered in each division the divisions will be combined. All teams will compete together for Largest and Smallest lionfish categories.
- 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. IMPORTANT: This year we will be offering a remote attendance of the Captain's Meeting (details will be emailed out). Teams that will be fishing in the areas that fall under the FKNMS and FWC permit must schedule a time to come to REEF campus to pick up packet material, permits and flags during the week of September 5, 2021.
- 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).
- Local wholesaler Salatino Seafood will be at the derby to purchase the lionfish from interested teams. They will purchase both small and larger lionfish at a great market price. Teams must have a valid FWC Saltwater Products License to sell their catch.
- Teams can also submit their catch through FWC's Commercial Lionfish Harvest Program.
- Final details of drop off stations, time and pick-up instructions will be updated online in the derby rules and via email communication with registered teams.
- Drop off stations will be set in the Upper Keys, Middle Keys and Lower Keys.
- All lionfish should be well packed on ice and teams must provide enough ice for lionfish particularly those that will be held overnight
- Fish dropped off on Friday or Saturday and picked up by teams before Sunday will have their pectoral fin clipped.
- Don't have a boat? Local Charters will be available. Stay tuned for details.
Special Thanks to our 2021 Program Sponsors!
Purchase Waterlust's Lionfish gear & support REEF's Invasive Species Program!