REEF is offering a series of free Lionfish Collection and Handling Workshops throughout south Florida and the Keys. Each workshop will include a classroom session covering the background of the invasion, lionfish biology, ecological impacts, current research, collecting and handling techniques, and other ways you can get involved. Attendees can obtain a permit to collect lionfish within the Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPAs) in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary using hand nets only. Once wrapping up on land, we will head out on the water and put our skills to work on a dive charter. You need to attend the classroom portion of the workshop to be able to come on the dive.
Classroom Lecture and Demonstration: 9:00-11:30 am at Sea Experience (801 Seabreeze Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316)
Dive: 12:30pm check in at Sea Experience (801 Seabreeze Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316)
Directions to classroom portion:
The campus is located inside of Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State park. The park gate opens at 8 a.m. In order to have the park entry fee waived, participants just need to mention they are there for the NSU event. Then drive through the park until they see NSU on the left. Take the first gate to NSU where they see the large glass building. Go to the third floor auditorium, there will be signs posted.
Important Registration Information
To register for this workshop, please complete all of the forms linked above.
The workshop and dives are free, but pre-registration is required. Space is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. REEF will provide lionfish collecting gear, but you will need to bring your own SCUBA gear or organize a rental through the dive shop. Please contact the dive shop directly prior to the workshop if you need rental gear.
Due to advanced nature of the lionfish collection dives, an Advanced Open Water (or equivalent) dive certification and 30 dives minimum are required for dive participants. Dives are subject to weather and other conditions.
We ask registrants for the dive to place a $20 deposit to be refunded after the dive. After we have received your registration and confirmed your space on the boat, you will receive an email about the deposit from a REEF team member.
PLEASE NOTE: Participants should not expect to take home the fish they catch: While, we will offer a demonstration of dissection and filleting techniques after the workshop, the majority of the lionfish captured on the workshop dive will be kept for education and outreach needs of REEF. Free Tastings of Lionfish will be offered at the Lionfish Derby on June 30th at 15th Street Fisheries in Fort Lauderdale.
Financial support for these workshops was provided by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Foundation (NOAA), through the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida (FWFF). Dive charters and spears are sponsored by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Additional support was generously provided from Whole Foods Market.