Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) is dedicated to invasive lionfish research, education, and control throughout the Western Atlantic.
To conserve marine ecosystems for their recreational, commercial, and intrinsic value by educating, enlisting and enabling divers and other marine enthusiasts to become active stewards and citizen scientists. REEF links the diving community with scientists, resource managers and conservationists through marine-life data collection and related activities.
What is a derby?
A lionfish derby is a team competition to collect as many lionfish as possible. Teams have between dawn-to-dusk and can use a variety of capture methods while either SCUBA diving, free diving, or snorkeling. Prizes will be awarded to the teams with the most, biggest, and smallest lionfish caught.
Derbies are important venues for invasive species outreach and education. Teams and spectators can learn how to properly handle venemous lionfish and why they are detrimental to ocean ecosystems, as well as taste several delicious recipes. They also draw media attention to the Atlantic lionfish invasion and help promote the possible development of a commercial lionfish market. These benefits all supplement the main goal of removing large numbers of lionfish from our delicate reefs.
Lionfish are a non-native species in this region with no known predators and large appetites for native juvenile fish! Removing lionfish from the reef therefore restores balance to the delicate coral ecostystem found in our coastal waters.
Total lionfish count for all REEF-sponsored derbies in the Florida Keys, South Florida, and the Bahamas:
2011 - 3,542
2010 - 1,578
2009 - 1,408
Lionfish Collection Gear, Lionfish Cookbooks, Lionfish Tshirts (including Derby Tshirts), Fish ID books, Fish Survey Materials are all available through our online store. All proceeds benefit research and outreach programs.