Dive Deep to Help the Gulf at the Lionfish Derby

Red lionfish at the Lionfish Derby

This July, you are invited to partner in the fourth annual Sarasota Lionfish Derby! This day will be filled with tons of events and exciting things. One of the most important reasons why this event is so amazing is because it is also, environmentally beneficial. It will be hosted by the Mote Marine Laboratory, a world-class marine science institution in cooperation with Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), which helps study and address the lionfish invasion and sanctions official Lionfish Derbies. Lionfish Derbies are one of the most influential ways that help divers all over the country. By doing this, they can harvest large quantities of this species that has spread all over the Eastern Atlantic Coast

Event Information

Derbies assist divers in harvesting lionfish to provide public education and the amazing opportunity to taste them all for free. This year’s event will be based at Mote, with a captains meeting on July 7th. Followed by the actual hunt on July 8th in the Gulf. The tournament boundaries are defined as Collier County to Escambia County. After the hunt, you will be able to weigh in your fish the following day at the Mote Marine Laboratory The cost to participate in this derby s $120.00 per team. (minimum 2 people per team, maximum 4 people)

The public is invited to celebrate this fascinating weekend. A maximum of 175 tickets will be sold to the public for this annual tasting event. Some participating chefs/restaurants will include The Beach House, Mattison’s, Indigenous, The Seafood Shack Marina, Bar & Grill. Make sure you come on an empty stomach because you won’t want to miss out on these awesome dining options! If you have any questions about hunting lionfish, then make sure you contact Marie Diaz at marie@reef.org. If you want to read about last year’s successful derby here. Where a total of 429 lionfish were removed from the Gulf of Mexico!

Registration & Waivers

Make sure that before participating you fill out these online waivers and registration forms to ensure your safety and compliance! You will not be able to participate in the event without them!

Derby Schedule

Late Registration:

Friday, July 7th from 5:30-6:30pm

Mote Marine Laboratory (1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236)

Captain’s Meeting:

Friday, July 7th from 6:30-7:30pm

Mote Marine Laboratory (1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236)

Lionfish Collection Day:

Saturday, July 8th (Full day of fishing starting at sunrise)

Scoring and awards:

Sunday, July 9th 12:00pm-3:00 pm at Mote Marine Laboratory.

12:00 pm: all lionfish to be scored must be turned in

**Awards will immediately follow scoring.


So, head on down to the Gulf and check out this noble cause! If you are looking for reliable transportation then make sure while in the area you check out Venice Toyota for all your automotive needs.