2017 Lionfish Challenge and Panhandle Pilot Program

Frequently Asked Questions   Checkpoints     Drawing Rules
 Panhandle Pilot Program  Hall of Fame  

Lionfish Challenge 2017

This information is preliminary. Check back closer to the Lionfish Challenge start date, May 20, 2017, for updates.

Timeline 

  • Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day 2017 (May 20, 2017) through Labor Day (Sept. 4, 2017)

Location

  • Statewide

How to Participate

  • All participants who have an active Saltwater Products License and who have commercial lionfish sales within the past year will automatically be included in the commercial category.

Recreational Category

Qualify

  • Register for the Lionfish Challenge (Registration opens May 8, 2017)
  • Harvest 25 or more lionfish
    • Send photo of harvest to Lionfish@MyFWC.com (first 25 ONLY)
      • Include harvester name, date the lionfish were harvested, and signature in the photograph
      • First 25 may also be submitted at an FWC approved checkpoint

Submitting more than 25 lionfish

  • Watch a video on how to submit lionfish tails External Website
  • Bring tails and FWC Lionfish Challenge Check-In Form Adobe PDF to approved checkpoints (select dive shops, tournaments, and regional offices statewide)   
  • Tails must be in a dry plastic sandwich bag
  • Label bag with diver name, date, phone number, registration number, and number of tails included
  • Last day to submit is Sept. 4, 2017
    • Checkpoints will retain bags for verification by FWC staff

Commercial Category

  • Register for the Lionfish Challenge (Registration opens May 8, 2017)
  • Harvest and sell at least 25 pounds (or 25 fish if a Marine Life Endorsement harvester)
  • Submit a photo or copy of your commercial trip tickets dated May 20-Sept. 4, 2017, to Lionfish@MyFWC.com (photo must include harvester name, date harvested, amount sold and your signature in photo)
  • Last day to submit is Sept. 4, 2017
  • All participants who have an active Saltwater Products License and who have commercial lionfish sales will automatically be included in the commercial category.

Rewards

All qualified recreational and commercial participants 

  • Commemorative coin
  • T-shirt
  • Featured in the FWC Lionfish Hall of Fame on the MyFWC.com website
  • Spiny lobster – one per person, per day in addition to daily bag limit during 2017 sport season only (July 26-27, 2017) - if qualified before relevant harvest opportunity starts

 

Lionfish King or Queen - Recreational

  • Most lionfish checked in (individual only)
  • Lionfish King/Queen trophy awarded Sept. 10 at the Lionfish Safari in St. Petersburg
  • $500 gift card for dive tank refills
  • Feature article in FWC’s January 2018 Saltwater Regulations publication
  • Featured prominently in the FWC Lionfish Hall of Fame on the MyFWC.com website

Commercial Champion

  • Trophy
  • Recognized at the Sept. 10 at the Lionfish Safari in St. Petersburg
  • Featured in FWC’s commercial saltwater regulations publication

Panhandle Pilot Program

Timeline 

  • This program ends May 19, 2017 (Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day 2016-2017)

Location

  • Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties

How to Qualify (Watch a video on how to submit lionfish tails External Website)

  • Harvest 100 or more lionfish
  • Bring tails to checkpoints in a plastic bag marked with name, date phone number (select dive shops and regional offices)
  • Print and fill out the FWC Lionfish Challenge Check-In Form Adobe PDF or fill out form at checkpoint

Resource-based Incentives (until all tags claimed)

  • For each 100 lionfish harvested, receive one tag to take either a legal-sized red grouper or a legal-sized cobia over bag limit from state waters
  • 100 red grouper tags available
  • 30 cobia tags available
  • Tags expire May 19, 2017

Artificial reef naming

  • The first 10 persons or groups to harvest 500 or more lionfish will have an artificial reef named after them

Panhandle Pilot Program Checkpoints

Lionfish Checkpoint Map Panhandle


Please check businesses for hours of operation

If you are a dive shop and would like to be a checkpoint or if you are a diver in need of additional assistance in locating a checkpoint, please call 850-487-0554..

(Watch a video on how to submit lionfish tails External Website)

Click map for a pdf Adobe PDF

County Checkpoint name 
 
Address
 
Bay Diver's Den - Panama City Beach
3120 Thomas Dr., Panama City Beach
Bay Panama City Diving 5512 Thomas Dr., Panama City Beach
Escambia Dive Pros

7203 W. Highway 98, Pensacola

Escambia Escambia County DMR 3363 W. Park Place, Pensacola    
Franklin FSU Coastal & Marine Laboratory - Panacea 3618 Coastal Hwy 98, St. Theresa 
Gulf Daly's Watersports 317 Monument Ave., Port St. Joe   
Okaloosa Discovery Dive World 92 S. John Sims Parkway, Valparaiso
Santa Rosa Bay Breeze Dive Center 49 Gulf Breeze Pkwy, Gulf Breeze
Wakulla Wakulla Diving Center 2784 Coastal Hwy, Crawfordville
Walton  South Walton Artificial Reef Association 26 Logan Lane, Suite G,  Santa Rosa Beach

 

 


 

2016 Lionfish Challenge

The Statewide Lionfish Challenge started on Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (May 14, 2016) and ended Sept. 30. 

For a list of participants and winners, check out the Lionfish Challenge Hall of Fame.



FWC Facts:
Tarpon can supplement their gill breathing by breaching the surface and gulping air to extract oxygen with four rows of lung-like tissue inside their swim bladder.

Learn More at AskFWC