Divers Hunt Invasive Lionfish and Help Protect Florida Keys Coral Reefs Starting in May, divers will once again take to the waters of the Florida Keys in the second annual round of “lionfish derbies” hosted by Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). The inaugural series of lionfish derbies held in 2010 resulted in the removal of more than 650 of the invaders from sanctuary waters. This year, more than $10,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to the divers who bring in the most lionfish, largest lionfish, and smallest lionfish during the sanctuary/REEF series of tournaments. Teams of four may register online at www.reef.org or pick up registration forms at participating tournament venues. The $120 registration fee provides each team with a pair of puncture resistant gloves or a capture bag — important protection from lionfish spines — and two tickets to the derby banquet. 2011 lionfish tournament dates and locations: May 14 — Fiesta Key Resort, Long Key, FL August 20 — Coconuts Restaurant, Key Largo, FL November 5 — Hurricane Hole Marina and Restaurant, Key West, FL Attendees of the lionfish derbies were invited to sample the fish, which is a mild, delicious white fish. NOAA has developed an "Eat Lionfish" campaign that brings together fishing communities, wholesalers, and chefs in an effort to broaden U.S. consumers' awareness of this delicious invader.