Lionfish Festivals and Rewards Programs

The Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival in Pensacola is 5/205/21: FWCLionfish

The 2017 Lionfish Challenge starts on Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day 5/20: FWCLionfish

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Lionfish and festivals and reward programs, OH MY!

Join the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in celebrating the third annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (Saturday, May 20) by attending a festival, a tournament or by participating in the 2017 Lionfish Challenge removal incentive program.

Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (the first Saturday after Mothers Day each year) raises awareness about lionfish; a nonnative, invasive species that has a potential negative impact on native species and habitat.

Learn more about one of the many upcoming lionfish removal events and opportunities below.

*Pensacola Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival and Tournament*

The third annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 20-21 at Plaza de Luna, 900 S. Palafox St., Pensacola.

This event will include celebrity chef and fillet demonstrations, lionfish tastings, family-friendly games and activities, and more than 40 art, diving and conservation vendors.

To participate in the tournament hosted by the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition, visit the Lionfish World Championship webpage at [ ].

Check out the booths of our many sponsors including Jimmy Buffetts Margaritaville, Whole Foods Market, iHeartMedia, Coast Watch Alliance, Visit Pensacola, Escambia County Division of Marine Resources, Florida Sea Grant, the city of Pensacola, Navarre Beach Marine Science Station, tournament host Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition, Guy Harvey Magazine, SHELLArt, Dive Rite, ZooKeeper, and Dive Pros.

Have an artistic child in your life? Send their masterpieces in to the Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Mail Art contest by May 10. The theme is Protect our Native Fishes from Lionfish and all drawings, collages, paintings or photos are welcome. Mail entries to Escambia County Marine Resources, 3363 West Park Place, Pensacola, FL 32505. The contest is open to students from elementary to high school. Winners will receive snorkeling gear and lionfish swag. Email Shelly Marshall at to learn more.

*Statewide lionfish events*

Cant make the Pensacola festival and tournament? Find an event near you [ ] by scrolling over Event Info at the top of and clicking on Statewide Events.

* Lion Tamer Tournament  Panama City Beach.
* Destin Lionfish Tournament  Destin.
* Sebastian Lionfish Fest  Sebastian.
* REEF Lionfish Workshop and Collection  Big Pine Key.
* Northeast Florida Lionfish Blast  Jacksonville.
* FSDA Lionfish Calcutta  St. Petersburg.
* FWC Exotic Pet Amnesty Day  Sanford  May 6.

Look for event updates [ ] at by clicking on Lionfish Derbies and Events.

*Lionfish Challenge*

Recreational and commercial lionfish hunters are invited to get rewarded for their lionfish removal efforts by participating in FWCs revamped Lionfish Challenge. The program starts Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (May 20) and will end on Labor Day (Sept. 4). New this year, lionfish hunters can participate in either a recreational or commercial category (all participants who have an active Saltwater Products License and who have commercial lionfish sales within the past yearmust participate in the commercial category).

Rewards for recreational and commercial participants include:

* A commemorative coin to mark membership.
* An event T-shirt.
* Lionfish Hall of Fame recognition on the website.
* If qualified before July 26, the opportunity to take an additional spiny lobster per day during the 2017 sport season (July 26-27).

Participants may also qualify for additional prizes such as a reusable lionfish sting heat pack, customized neck gaiter, customized tumbler, and pole spear with grip kit.

The recreational and commercial harvesters who check in the most lionfish will be crowned Floridas Lionfish King or Queen and Floridas Commercial Champion and both will be recognized at the 2017 Lionfish Safari Sept. 10 in St. Petersburg.

To enter the program, participants must register online at [ ]. Registration opens May 8.

After registration, participants may email photos of their first 25 qualifying lionfish (or trip tickets totaling at least 25 pounds sold for commercial harvesters) to Be sure to include the name of the harvester, the date harvested and your signature in the photo (written on a piece of paper next to the fish for example). Participants in the recreational category must bring the tails of any lionfish harvested in excess of the initial 25 to an FWC-approved checkpoint (list will be available May 20 on by clicking on Lionfish Challenge [ ]).


Contact the FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management at 850-487-0554. For more on FWCs Pet Amnesty Day [ ], or if you have an exotic pet and need help finding it a new home, visit and click on Nonnative Species and Exotic Pet Amnesty Program.

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