Reef Environmental Education Foundation
Reef Environmental Education Foundation has been in the Lionfish Community and hunting lionfish since 2006! They are a leader in protecting reefs agains the lionfish and have great tournaments throughout the year!
Since 1996, members of REEF have been proactively increasing awareness and engaging in removals of non-native species before they can become established and cause problems in Florida’s coastal waters. 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 and runs lionfish workshops and derbies annually. Since the first derby in 2009 REEF supported derbies have removed over 60,000 invasive lionfish and engaged thousands of divers. REEF scientist are currently testing out lionfish traps in deepwater in the Florida Keys.
What do you like about lionfish hunting?
Lionfish spearfishing creates a targeted and tangible way for divers to participate directly in a conservation effort. It also provides an alternative and eco-friendly fish for divers to fish for and consume instead of already threatened native species like groupers and snappers.
What do you like about the lionfish community?
The Lionfish community is very special as a marine conservation, research and management effort because so many different agencies, partners, fishers and individuals collaborate together for the same general cause, to reduce the population of lionfish. This strong collaborative effort has allowed for open communication and sharing of important information throughout the invaded range.
REEF continues to encourage divers to report other nonnative marine sightings to help prevent the next “Lionfish” invasion. Please report sightings here https://www.reef.org/exotic-species-sighting-form.
We also discourage the feeding of lionfish to native predators as it; changes the behavior of these predators, puts both divers and predators at risk of injury and often reduces divers ability to effectively remove lionfish in the areas that predators have been fed.