Have you seen or captured a lionfish? Help REEF and USGS track the invasion by submitting a report.
Information on collecting and/or reporting lionfish, safe handling practices, preparing and eating lionfish, current research and media attention, and lionfish quickfacts.
Lionfish Derbies and Contests
REEF Lionfish Derbies in Florida and the Bahamas; including upcoming derby dates, derby team registration, and past results.
Attend a lionfish workshop and removal dive to learn about the invasion, safe collecting and handling techniques, and to obtain collection permits for the FKNMS SPAs.
REEF Invasive Lionfish Program On Facebook
For a quick one-page fact sheet put together by REEF, USGS, NOAA, and Simon Fraser University on invasive lionfish, click here.
1) Voracious predators being shown to eat native fish and crustaceans in large quantities, including both ecologically and economically important species like grunts, snapper, nassau grouper, and cleaner shrimp
2) Not known to have any native predators
3) Equipped with venomous dorsal, ventral and anal spines, which deter predators and can cause painful wounds to humans
4) Capable of reproducing year-round with unique reproduction mechanisms not commonly found in native fishes (females can reproduce every 4 days!)
5) Relatively resistant to parasites, giving them another advantage over native species
6) Fast in their growth, able to outgrow native species with whom they compete for food and space
Non-native marine fishes can pose a major threat to marine fisheries, habitats, and eco-system function. Increased reports of non-native species and the successful invasion of lionfish in Atlantic waters have proven the need for early warning and rapid response to confirmed sightings. The Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), has been working with Federal, State, and local partners as well as divers and dive operators, public aquaria, and foreign fisheries departments to enact rapid response protocol and removals and to assist with scientific investigations related to non-native marine species.
Indo-pacific Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans) have been documented along the entire US East Coast from Florida through Massachusetts, east to Bermuda and south throughout the Caribbean. The expansion has been extremely rapid and exponential in scope.
Since 1994, REEF has maintained an on-line educational section on non-native species as well as an on-line exotic species reporting page. Divers are encouraged to submit any sightings of non-native species via this sightings reporting form. Since 2006, REEF has been working in close partnership with government agencies and partners throughout the region to help develop lionfish response plans, train resource managers and dive operators in effective collecting and handling techniques and conduct cutting edge research to help address the invasion. To aid in this effort, REEF currently enlists interested divers and snorkelers to join organized lionfish research and removal projects and encourages public participation in helping address the invasion.
How you can help:
The Lionfish studies have been part of a collaborative program between REEF and several partners, including:
Funding for the Lionfish Program provided by The Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation and NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program.
Generous logistical support has also been provided by Bruce Purdy, Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas, and David and Trish Ferguson. Dozens of REEF volunteers have donated their time to assist with field research.