On October 29th, 2011 the South Florida Freedivers are hosting the first Biscayne Bay Lionfish Smash at Rickenbacker Marina on Virginia Key with proceeds going to the University of Miami’s Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. This event has the goal of bringing awareness to the Lionfish invasion in Biscayne Bay and educating the public on how to harvest and handle these venomous but tasty invaders.

The Lionfish are an invasive and venomous species that hail from the Indo-Pacific Region, threatening the biological diversity of the western Atlantic. The South Florida Freedivers hope to work in conjunction with other local and national organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation to help slow lionfish invasion and educate people on how to safely kill and handle these fish.

The format is as follows: Divers will compete as two person, with more than 1 team allowed per boat. Entry fee is $60 per team. Teams must be signed up no later than the Captain’s meeting which will take place on October 27th at the Rickenbacker Fish Company. A representative from each team must sign in at this location between 7-9 am the day of the tournament. Once signed in the team can fish wherever they like in U.S. waters but must have their cooler or bucket at the dock no later than 4pm.

Largest Lionfish taken $500
Smallest Lionfish taken $200
Most Lionfish by a team – A case of fine Rum

“I’m very excited to assist in increasing awareness of the negative effects of the lionfish here in my home waters. By getting the word out and working together we can combat this invasion, ” mentioned Tom Ralph, chairman of Broward Surfrider Foundation.

The South Florida Freedivers is a grassroots organization focused on bringing together free divers, scuba divers, fishermen, boaters, and all who utilize the ocean as their playground. Meetings are held every 2nd Thursday of the month at 7:30 PM at Scotty’s Landing in Coconut Grove – Miami, Florida. The purpose of these meetings is to put together a group of likeminded individuals who respect and honor the best of the sport; local fishing regulations and practices, selectivity and conservation, and above all diver safety.

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