By Mullet Wrapper
A Lionfish Removal and Awareness event will be held at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club on May 19-20 from 10 a.m. ‘til 5 p.m.
The 4th annual event is free to attend and will include conservation effort and educational booths, lionfish tastings prepared by celebrity chefs, live music and a lionfish tournament.
For the first time ever, the event will include a benefit concert featuring Little Texas on May 20 at 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 each. All proceeds from ticket sales benefit lionfish related conservation, outreach, and research initiatives. The Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day was created to increase awareness of the invasive lionfish population and support efforts to irradicate them and helps restore the ecosystems and reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. Lionfish are an invasive species that was introduced to the Southern Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico over 20 years ago. With Lionfish numbers rampantly increasing, local fish, reefs and ecosystems are suffering. The LRAD tournament and fest aims to drastically decrease the number of lionfish in gulf coastal waters.
Presented by Coast Watch Alliance, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Gulf Coast Lionfish, Florida Sea Grant and other organizations, the event will promote awareness about the lionfish’s devastation effect on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.
Lionfish, which have 18 venomous spines along their backs and sides, are native to the waters of the Indo-Pacific region and began to flourish off Florida in the 1980s when aquarium collectors released some of the fish in the area. Each female lionfish spawns millions of eggs a year and the species has no known natural predators in the northern Gulf. Lionfish eat native fish including grouper and snapper.
Founded in 2014 to address the important reef health issues in the Gulf of Mexico, Coast Watch Alliance is a nonprofit that works with business leaders and scientists to responsibly educate and motivate communities to protect our most precious natural resources. Info: 850-619-8885.