I’m hearing a lot about lionfish lately. It is interesting to me that a fish so beautiful can be causing so much havoc on our ocean and reefs here in Pensacola. Did you know that Pensacola is the Lionfish Capital of the World – and not in a good way! We’ve earned that title because of the high lionfish density on our reefs and the lead we have taken to do something about them.

#1 Eat Them

My favorite way to “do something about them” is to eat them! I was surprised how amazing this invasive species of fish tastes! I’ve tried them in a Lionfish Dip by Edible Invaders at Tin Cow and the Oar House, and enjoyed an amazing lionfish dinner at The Fish House. I was even treated to some ceviche from a diver friend of mine who went out and speared some off the reef! Each time, it left me wanting more lionfish! Its flaky, white, sweet meat is addicting.

#2 Attend the Lionfish Festival

Florida Wildlife Commission is putting on the 2nd Annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Tournament and Festival (LRAD for the cool kids) on May 14 and 15 at Plaza de Luna Park.

I’m really looking forward to the festival! There are events for the whole family! Lionfish KidZone, celebrity chefs, raffles and prizes, venders, artists, and much more will make this an event not to miss! And of course, my favorite part! Eating Lionfish! There will be lionfish to taste, as well as celebrity chefs showing you how to prepare amazing meals with Lionfish! There will be fillet demonstrations, and information on how you can actually catch and sell lionfish and make some money! Find out more at www.ReefRangers.com/event-info

lionfish festival

#3 Win the Lionfish Tournament

LRAD coincides with a Lionfish tournament run by the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition. Teams of divers will compete to see who can get the most lionfish, biggest lionfish, and even smallest lionfish over a 2 day tournament with a chance to win some great prizes! The awards ceremony will be on Sunday of the festival, so it will be interesting to see the divers and all the lionfish they turn in. Even with the high winds during last year’s tournament, divers brought in several hundred lionfish! I bet they beat the record this year!

Lionfish Removal And Awareness Day

May 14-15
10am – 5pm
Plaza de Luna Park

Lionfish Tournament
May 13-15

Hope to see you there!

Written by Brady Hale