FWC will be hosting the first ever Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival and Tournament at Plaza de Luna, 900 S. Palafox St., Pensacola, on May 16-17 with the help of sponsors like Guy Harvey Magazine, Coast Watch Alliance, Escambia County Marine Resources, Marina Management, Jaco’s Bayfront Bar and Grille, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the city of Pensacola and tournament host Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition.


This event will include celebrity chef demonstrations, lionfish tastings, fillet demos, a visit from world famous artist and marine conservationist Guy Harvey, family-friendly activities such as games and a fountain to play in, and more than 40 art, diving and conservation vendors; there will also be music, food and tons of helpful lionfish information.


The festival starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. each day. Updates will be provided from various other events across the state.


Want to participate in the tournament? Visit the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition (GCLC) webpage to learn more or visit their Facebook page at GCLC is offering prize money for a number of categories, as well as chances to win great prizes with raffle tickets. Come by to check out the researchers counting and filleting fish.


Take a break from festival fun and head over to the Pensacola Museum of Art, where Guy Harvey will be signing autographs from noon to 2 p.m.May 16. His newest exhibit is expected to run May 9 through Aug. 9. Visit to learn more. Harvey will also be throwing out the first pitch at the Blue Wahoo’s baseball game that Saturday night.


Statewide lionfish removal events


          Can’t make the Pensacola festival and tournament? How about one of these events being coordinated by various groups across the state?

·         FWC Pet Amnesty Day – Kissimmee

·         Treasure Coast Lionfish Safari – Fort Pierce

·         Wakulla Diving Center Spearfishing Tournament – Crawfordville

·         Lion Tamer Dive Tournament – Panama City

·         Martin County celebrates Lionfish Month

·         Northeast Florida Lionfish Blast – Jacksonville

·         Richard Warren Rydell Memorial Lionfish Derby – Key Biscayne

·         Discovery Dive World Derby – Destin

·         Mexico Beach Lionfish Cleanup – Mexico Beach


Look for event updates at by clicking on “Lionfish Derbies and Events.”

Are you holding a lionfish-related event in May, particularly the weekend of May 16-17? Email the details (name, city, public contact information and website) to


Go rogue


Can’t make any of the organized events? No worries. The FWC wants all divers to remove as many lionfish as they can the weekend of May 16-17, no matter where they are in Florida. Remove a lionfish? Report it to the Report Florida Lionfish app or online at by clicking “Report Lionfish.” The FWC will be keeping tally of these efforts. Send us a photo of yourself and your catch via Twitter or Instagram, using #FWCLionfish and your photo could be featured on our big screen in Pensacola as well as the website.


Make a commitment: Become a Reef Ranger


Make a pledge to adopt a reef and remove lionfish from it by becoming a certified Reef Ranger. Research has shown that consistent lionfish removal efforts can reverse some of the negative impact lionfish have on affected reefs. Sign up online coming soon. Visit to learn more.




Contact the FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management at 850-487-0554. For more on FWC’s 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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