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Florida Keys Lionfish Derby & Festival

September 7, 2023 - September 10, 2023

Florida Keys Lionfish Derby & Festival

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REEF’s 14th annual event will include two full days of lionfish fishing, followed by a family-friendly festival at picturesque Postcard Inn Resort & Marina. The festival is open to the public and will include lionfish scoring, fillet and dissection demonstrations, lionfish tastings, lionfish games and crafts, raffle prizes, plus booths from environmentally-minded vendors. Chefs will be providing lionfish cooking demonstrations and special dishes and drink special will be available.

CONSERVATION FESTIVAL – Sunday September 10, 2023 12PM – 4PM, Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina

 Limited festival vendor space is available for nonprofits, government organizations, and artisanal vendors.

Event Schedule

Thursday, Sept. 7: Captain’s Meeting* for registered derby teams – 6:30-7:30PM (6:15 PM final check in), REEF Campus Key Largo & virtual (link sent out to registrants); gear rental begins

Friday, Sept. 8: Fishing sunrise to sundown

Saturday, Sept. 9: Fishing sunrise to sundown

Sunday, Sept. 10: NO FISHING; Lionfish Festival and Awards Ceremony at Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina; Final Team Weigh-in Drop off by 12:30PM; Awards Ceremony at 3:30PM;

*The Captain’s Meeting is mandatory for the team captains, 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. The Captain’s meeting will be offered in-person and virtually. 

IMPORTANT: Teams wishing to fish in the areas that fall under the FKNMS, FWC, and DEP permit must schedule a time to come to the REEF Campus to pick up packet materials, permits, and flags during the week of September 5 or pick up at the Captain’s Meeting. 

How much does it cost?

Early Bird Registration Discounts Available
$75 per team through August 10, 2023

$100 per team on or before September 7, 2023 (6:30PM)

Minimum 2 people per team, maximum 4 people

Registration fee is nonrefundable. 

How to Participate 

Step 1: Gather your team. Derby teams can be made of 2-4 divers. Decide on what level you will participate (Apex Predators or Reef Defender).

Step 2: Register your team and pay the Registration Fee.

Register and Pay

Step 3: All members of your team need to complete the waiver.

Online Waivers

Step 4: Make sure everyone on your team understands the rules of the Derby.

Derby Rules


Prizes will be awarded for MOST lionfish, SMALLEST and LARGEST lionfish and a Golden Fish raffle award for all participating teams.

During registration, teams must choose to compete in one of two divisions for the MOST Lionfish Prize.

Apex Predators Division (More Competitive Division; Greater Prize Money)  
Reef Defenders Division (More Casual Division; Lower Prize Money)

All teams will compete together for LARGEST and SMALLEST lionfish categories. 

Additional Details

  • Teams that will be fishing in the areas that fall under the FKNMS and FWC permit must schedule a time to come to REEF campus to pick up packet material, permits and flags during the week of September 4, 2023.
  • Teams will be able to take at least 80% of their catch after it is measured (REEF will keep some lionfish to use towards education and outreach activities). 
  • Fish MUST be dropped off at 12:30 PM Sunday September 10, 2023, no exceptions (can begin dropping off at 9AM)
  • Teams can also submit their catch through FWC’s Commercial Lionfish Harvest Program.
  • Teams must attend the awards ceremony at Postcard Inn Resort and Marina to win prizes.   
  • All lionfish should be well packed on ice and teams must provide enough ice for lionfish, particularly those that will be held overnight.

For more information click here!

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September 7, 2023
September 10, 2023
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Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina
84001 Overseas Hwy
Islamorada, FL 33036 United States
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