JACKSONVILLE, FLa. – Lionfish Festival scheduled in Jacksonville Beach on Sunday, August 12th giving us a chance to taste expertly prepared, freshly caught lionfish from the lionfish derby the day before. This invasive species that decimates our reefs has no natural predators, and the health of our fishery depends on humas removing them through spearfishing. They also taste delicious, like a combination of a mild white fish and lobster.
REEF’s Jacksonville Lionfish Derby, part of REEF’s 2018 Summer Lionfish Derby Series presented by
Whole Foods Market, will take place August 11th-12th this year. Divers and snorkelers will compete to
bring in the most lionfish, the largest lionfish and the smallest lionfish, vying for $6,500 in cash prizes. All teams are eligible for a $1,000 Golden Fish Award raffle, randomly chosen from teams that check in at the end of the tournament.
Invasive lionfish are voracious predators from the Indo-Pacific that threaten Florida’s marine
ecosystems. Over 160 species of native fish and invertebrates have been found in lionfish stomachs.
Defended from predators by 18 venomous spines, lionfish rule the reefs and are able to reproduce as
often as every four days, year round. Though lionfish may seem unstoppable, local control is proving to
be highly successful and divers can significantly reduce local populations with regular removals, such as REEF’s Jacksonville Derby.
All are invited to compete. Registration is required and team representatives must attend the Captain’s
Meeting on Friday, August 10 at 6:30pm at Beach Marine. Teams may preregister online by clicking here or they may register in person on Friday, August 10 between 5:30pm and 6:30pm before the Captain’s Meeting begins.
The competition begins at sunrise on August 11, with catch due at the scoring station at Beach Marine
between 12 and 1pm on Sunday, August 12.
This year, REEF and Beach Marine are proud to host the 2018 Jacksonville Lionfish Festival on Sunday, August 12. The public is encouraged to attend the festival, which features free lionfish tastings, scoring of lionfish from the derby, educational demonstrations, kid’s crafts, lionfish culinary competition, live musical performances, and more! Purchase a VIP Access Pass to taste and vote on your favorite cuisine in the Lionfish Culinary Competition, receive two free drinks.
Registration and further information can be found here
REEF 2018 Lionfish Derby Series is presented by Whole Foods Market. Additional sponsors include Beach Marine, ZooKeeper LLC, Ocean Reef Conservation Association, and the Florida Fish & Wildlife