The invasive lionfish threatens native fish and plants located along the southeast coast of the United States, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Photo Credit – NOAA
Good day to you! Are you familiar with the exploding population of lionfish, especially along the southeast coast of the United States? The lionfish is actually a native to the Indio Pacific region of the world. So if this fish is not from the United States, how did it get here? Researchers believe that home aquarium enthusiasts have been releasing unwanted lionfish into the Atlantic Ocean for at least 25 years! Add to that, since the lionfish is not native to the southeast United States, it has very few predators there.
The lionfish has poisonous spines, which can be extremely painful if you come in contact with them. Lionfish feed on small crustaceans and important commercial fish. These include the juvenile snapper and grouper. NOAA research scientists have come to the conclusion that these invasive lionfish will continue growing and “cannot be eliminated using conventional methods. Marine invaders are nearly impossible to eradicate once established.”
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s Sarasota Lionfish Derby!
The lionfish has poisonous spines, which can be extremely painful should you come in contact with them.
You can help decrease the lionfish population by participating in the third annual Sarasota Lionfish Derby hosted by Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium! Mote is a world-class marine science institution. As part of the Sarasota Lionfish Derby, Mote will also partner with Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) and ZooKeeper, which is a Sarasoata manufacturer of the leading containment units used to stop lionfish within the affected areas.
Lionfish Derbies are a very important factor in harvesting large quantities of this invasive species along the eastern Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico coasts of Florida. These Derbies also assist divers in harvesting lionfish, while providing public education and wonderful opportunities in tasting lionfish.
Mote will host this year’s event. The festivities kick off on July 8 with a captain’s meeting. On July 9, lionfish hunting will take place in the spectacular Gulf of Mexico — tournament boundaries are defined as Collier County to Escambia County — and the lionfish weigh-in July 10 at Mote Marine Laboratory. You are invited to join Mote scientists and derby participants at the weigh-in for educational dissections and FREE lionfish tastings! Here is the actual schedule and times for the event…
2016 Sarasota Lionfish Derby Schedule…
Late Registration: Friday, July 8 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Mote Marine Laboratory’s WAVE Center
Captain’s Meeting: Friday, July 8 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Mote Marine Laboratory’s WAVE Center
- NOTE: The Captain’s Meeting is mandatory for the team captain’s and all team members are encouraged to attend. The team captain must be one of the four participants in the derby, but does not need to be the captain of the boat. Safe collecting and handling techniques and derby rules will be reviewed.
Lionfish Collection Day: Saturday, July 9 (Full day of fishing)
Scoring and awards: Sunday, July 10 from 12:00-3:00 p.m. at Mote Marine Laboratory’s WAVE Center
- Starting at 12 p.m. Sunday, Chef Steve Phelps from Indigenous Restaurant, Chef Paul Mattison from Mattison’s Restaurants & Catering and Executive Chef Gerard Jesse from Seafood Shack will prepare special dishes with the lionfish caught during the derby and provided by ZooKeeper. The public is invited to sample the lionfish dishes for free.
The Sarasota Lionfish Derby is looking for sponsors! You can contact Sofie Wachtmeister at email@example.com for details.
If you have questions about hunting lionfish, contact Emily Stokes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you see any sick or injured manatees, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …
Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee