Tomorrow at the Jupiter Pointe Marina, in Tequesta, Florida is the Lionfish Roundup. This fun event is a unique way to help our local ocean ecosystems manage the over growth of the invasive Lionfish. Diving will begin tomorrow at 7 in the morning.
The Lionfish is a beautiful fish but unfortunately it is an invasive species in our Floridian waters. The lionfish are incredibly destructive to our reef environments as they have no natural predators and plenty of food, thus their rapid population growth. The lionfish eat tiny shrimp which is the main diet of our native reef fish including juvenile grouper, snook, mullet, snapper and many other species. Since, the lionfish have no natural predators here and are destroying our native populations it is up to our divers and events like this one to help control their population and hopefully eradicate them one day.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are making statewide efforts such as fishing tournaments, diving tournaments and how-to-cook lionfish events. At the Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Tournament in Pensacola, 877 lionfish were removed by three teams in two days.
“Consistent lionfish removal efforts can reverse some of the negative impact lionfish have on affected reefs,” according to the FWC website.
This Lionfish Roundup is the 5th annual roundup event in Tequesta. Last year, 512 lionfish were removed, with the largest catch being about 17 inches. Cash prizes include: smallest, $250; largest, $250; most team, $500 and most individual, $500.
A mandatory “Diver’s Briefing” is planned for 6 p.m. today at Jupiter Pointe Marina. The cost to participate is $50 per diver or $150 for a team of four divers.
This event is powered by Martin County’s Artificial Reef Program and all proceeds will benefit the program.
For more information about this event, please visit www.ReefRangers.com