2022 ‘Lionfish Challenge’ underway in Florida to remove invasive species

FILE - This Sept. 23, 2018 file photo, shows a lionfish in the Audubon Aquarium of the Americans at New Orleans. Scientists are looking at traps as a better way to kill the beautiful but brutally destructive invaders with huge appetites than shooting them one by one with spearguns. Traps could also be used at depths spearfishers cannot reach. (Janet McConnaughey via AP) (Janet Mcconnaughey, Janet McConnaughey)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission annually hosts a Lionfish Challenge to encourage anglers to remove the invasive species from Florida waters by offering prizes for the most lionfish harvested.

The 2022 challenge begins Friday and runs through Sept. 6

The summer-long tournament, which is in its seventh year, is open to competitors around the state. The FWC’s goal remains the same: encourage anglers to remove as many lionfish as they can in just 3.5 months.

Are you up for the Challenge?

Tournament details:

Timeline: May 20 to Sept. 6.

Categories: Participants will compete in either the commercial or the recreational division.

Prizes will be awarded in tiers as follows:

  • Tier 1 ­- Harvest 25 lionfish (recreational category) or 25 pounds of lionfish (commercial category).
  • Tier 2 - Harvest 100 lionfish (recreational category) or 250 pounds of lionfish (commercial category).
  • Tier 3 - Harvest 300 lionfish (recreational category) or 500 pounds of lionfish (commercial category).
  • Tier 4- Harvest 600 lionfish (recreational category) or 1000 pounds of lionfish (commercial category)

FloGrown is the presenting sponsor for this year’s Lionfish Challenge. FloGrown is a Florida-based fishing and outdoor apparel company that supports the organizations and divers that work to fight the lionfish invasion. This year’s tournament shirt was custom-designed and printed by FloGrown and will be awarded to participants who reach the first prize tier.

Additional prizes provided by FloGrown, Neritic, ZooKeeper, Divers Alert Network, Shearwater, Smith Optics, GoPro, YETI and MORE!

To read the full tournament rules or register, visit FWCReefRangers.com/lionfish-challenge.

Keep up with The Challenge on our Facebook page: Facebook.com/FWCReefRangers.

For more information on FloGrown, visit Flogrown.com.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.