Invasive Lionfish have turned some of North America’s favorite tropical waters into their own, exclusive picnic basket. Now communities from Texas to Florida are fighting bank and having fun doing it. Here’s a taste of a Lionfish Festival near you, that features fishing tournaments, cook-offs, awareness programs and entertainment. Plus we tossed in some awesome videos that have gone viral. Enjoy.

 

Pensacola, Florida Lionfish Festival, May 20-21

lionfish festival pensacola florida May 18 fishing, cook-off, recipes educational invasive speciesIf you are anywhere near Pensacola, Florida on May 20-21 join in the fun and celebrate the third annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day festival.

If you’re a diver compete to see how many lionfish you can spear. There were more than 8,000 lionfish harvested during last year’s competition.

If you are a land-lover dive into a tasty lionfish at the celebrity chef cook-off. If you are a student win a prize for the best Lionfish Art, created on the theme “Protect our Native Fishes from Lionfish.”

 

lionfish festival Sebastian Florida invasive species, fishingSebastian, Florida Lionfish Festival, May 19-20

If you’re not in Pensacola head for the eastern coast of Florida for the Sebastian Lionfish Festival on Highway 1, in Sebastian, north of Vero Beach. Anglers will compete in harvesting the most lionfish and to win up to $3200 in prize money.

Taking to heart his year’s theme of “Making Delicious Dishes from Destructive Fish” local chefs will participate in a lionfish cook-off where you can vote on your favorite recipe. The festival will be both educational and entertaining, spreading the message to protect coastal habitats from this harmful and invasive species.

 

Lionfish Videos Goes Viral

We’ve heard of eating our way through the invasive lionfish problem, so here are some thoughts on why lionfish should always be on your menu or worn around your neck.

 

Can We Train Sharks and Eels to Eat Lionfish?

lionfish areas gulf of mexico caribbeanLionfish were first introduced into the waters of the Gulf in the 1980’s, most likely when they grew too large for aquariums and were released by Florida owners. DNA analysis indicates that today’s massive infestation may have been produced by no more than a dozen fish originally released into the wild. Their population proliferated quickly because a single female can lay up to 2 million eggs annually, that drift on ocean currents enabling them to disperse widely.

Another reason that the lionfish population has exploded is because they don’t have natural predators in these waters.

So how to fix that problem? This video suggests that divers can change the eating behavior of sharks to appreciate that lionfish are yummy in the tummy? Here are 2 videos that show us that this idea might be the salvation of our reef.

 

Eel Attacks Lionfish!

Here’s extraordinary video of an eel attacking a Lionfish, after a long battle, the eel seems to finally give up and retreat, which indicates how difficult it is for these invasive fish to be killed. But look carefully at how the eel wraps his body around the lionfish in an attempt to crush it, so at least the eel has the right idea.

So have fun at a lionfish festival next week and eat a lionfish. Remember that lionfish are also sold at Whole Foods Markets from San Francisco to Kansas City. Check your local branch and when traveling to Florida or around the Gulf look for restaurants that feature lionfish on their menus and take a bite out of Lionfish.

By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network

 

See these related Blue Ocean Posts on Lionfish:

What you need to know about Lionfish!
What’s for Dinner? Not Lionfish Again!
New Rules Make it Easier for Divers to Catch Lionfish in Florida
The Lionfish Kings of East End
Cayman Fights Back Against Lionfish Invaders
DiCaprio Finds Ocean Conservation in Farmed Seafood
If You Love Seafood – You Might Not Want to Read This

 

How To Get More Ocean-Hearted Intel Delivered To Your Inbox!

We believe ocean lovers can change the world. If you care about the health of the ocean and want to do something about it, then connect with the Blue Ocean tribe: Our growing community of ocean change-makers is turning ocean lovers into ocean leaders. It starts with you. Join us!