Take a bite out of lionfish at the 13th annual REEF Florida Keys Lionfish Derby & Festival, coming up on Sept. 8-11. The event features two full days of lionfish hunting, plus a family-friendly lionfish festival.
Teams of two to four people may register to compete in the derby. Registration is $100 per team and is open until Sept. 8. Teams may register in either the Apex Predators division (competitive, higher prize money) or Reef Defenders (casual, lower prize money.) Registration is available online here. A Captain's Meeting to discuss safe collecting and handling procedures and derby rules will be held on Sept. 8 from 6:30-7:30pm. Participants may choose to attend the meeting in person at the REEF Campus, or join virtually. More details will be emailed to registered teams. Derby participants may hunt lionfish from sunrise to sunset on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10. Lionfish drop off stations will be available at designated hours throughout the weekend at the REEF Campus in Key Largo, Postcard Inn Resort & Marina in Islamorada, and Mote Marine Laboratory in Summerland Key.
The derby weekend will conclude on Sunday, Sept. 11 with a lionfish festival at the picturesque Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina in Islamorada, Florida. The festival is open to the public from 11am-3pm, and includes lionfish tastings, drink specials, demonstrations, games, and interactive booths from environmentally-minded vendors. Derby winners will be announced during an awards ceremony and cash prizes will be awarded to the teams who harvest the most, largest, and smallest lionfish.
REEF is thankful for the support of our host venue, Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina. A Florida Keys favorite for boaters, beachgoers and more, this oceanfront resort has a private sandy beach, two swimming pools, onsite restaurants, plus a marina and dive shop. Hotel guests receive Wi-Fi, parking, use of beach chairs, bicycles, snorkel gear, kayaks, paddle boards, ping pong and corn hole, plus access to all four Islamorada Resort Collection properties. For more information, visit www.holidayisle.com.
For more details, check out the Florida Keys Lionfish Derby & Festival Facebook event. You can also stay up to date on derby info and connect with other teams by joining the REEF Invasive Lionfish Facebook Group.