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Divers catch over 1k lionfish at the Fourth Annual Sarasota Lionfish Derby

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Update: Mote Marine announced that participants in the Lionfish Derby caught twice as many as last year.

The total number of lionfish caught was 1,079.

Whole foods donated ingredients for the cooking competition, which was sold out, and Steve Phelps was the winner of the Lionfish Derby cook-off.


SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) – Scuba divers are invited to compete for cash by netting or spearing lionfish at the fourth annual Sarasota Lionfish Derby.

Mote Marine Laboratory is hosting the event from July 7-9 at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway.

The Derby Series consists of four events with this one being the first in the series.

There will be more than $3,500 in cash prizes. Also, on July 9th, five culinary partners will compete to prepare the best lionfish dishes. This is open to the public but if you want to get a taste than you will need a ticket.

Space is limited for the event so if you are looking to register, check out the Reef Environmental Education Foundation.