When is the 2023 Florida Keys Lionfish Sweeps?

Conservation Partners - REEF Take a Bite

Join REEFs 2023 Florida Keys Lionfish Sweeps! 

Steady removal of Lionfish from our local reefs can help protect native fish species & ensure a balanced ecosystem.

Participants can remove Invasive Lionfish from April to June 2023 for entry into cash raffles & final cash prizes and donate the fish to REEF’s Education & Outreach Programs

To Participate, Drop off lionfish between April 1 to June 30, 2023 at:

REEF Campus, Key Largo, FL 9AM-5PM Monday-Friday each week

Mote Marine Laboratory, Summerland Key, FL 9AM-5PM on Mondays each week

Lionfish Sweeps Preregistration

Online preregistration is not required. Participants can register in person during first drop anytime between April 1-June 30 

Final Results will be announced & raffles will be drawn at Sharkey’s Sharkbite Grille Rockin’ the Dock –  July 2023

At least $2000 in Cash Prizes 
Cash prizes will be given out to 1st place, 2nd place & 3rd place 
Two cash raffle prize pools with multiple drawings

PARTICIPANT RAFFLE – Each participant receives a raffle tix upon entry & then a raffle tix each week they drop off fish (regardless of fish #)

LIONFISH RAFFLE – Each participant receives a raffle tix for their first lionfish & then an additional raffle tix for every 20 lionfish they drop off

A selection of custom made Zookeepers and Zookeeper spears will also be included as prizes.

Each participant receives a REEF Lionfish Neck Gaiter with entry Each participant receives a 2023 REEF Lionfish Derby Shirt after dropping off 10 lionfish

Florida Keys Lionfish Sweeps Rules

  • Participants can sign up and complete waivers during their first drop off of lionfish between April 1 – June 30 2023
  • Entry is free (all lionfish must be donated) 
  • This is an individual competition, Lionfish must be harvested by the person credited for the harvest
  • Lionfish can be captured from anywhere (legal) but must be dropped off at REEF Campus or Mote 
  • Lionfish must be caught between April-June 30
  • No previously caught or frozen lionfish will be allowed
  • Please turn in all lionfish fresh on ice for consumption
  • Only legal means of capture in areas allowing use of those gear types will be allowed. All existing federal, state, and local laws must be followed
  • All lionfish must be in whole condition 
  • Lionfish will be used for sampling, research, or culinary tasting events
  • Lionfish can be used for additional events including FWC’s Lionfish Challenge
  • Weekend drop times and alternate times may be available upon request email lionfish@REEF.org
  • Lionfish are venomous & should be handled with care with protective gloves & containment devices
  • It is recommended that divers carry first aid kits, hot water and/or heat packs when collecting lionfish
  • All participants operate under the honor system for this conservation effort and are responsible for compliance with the rules.
Any violation of these rules will result in disqualification and forfeiture of prizes and cash awards, and at the sole discretion of the tournament, officials may lead to prohibited from entry in any future tournaments.
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