Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Tournament Kicks Off This Weekend

Posted on May 16, 2019 by Staff reports

The Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Tournament will kick off at 7 p.m. tonight with a Captain’s Safety Meeting at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster bar in Destin.

Tournament hours begin at first light on Friday morning and continue until Sunday at 11 a.m. Sunday will be a day of lionfish overload. The tournament is expecting record numbers of lionfish as hunters bring in their fish to AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar on the Harbor boardwalk to be counted by tournament staff.

The public is invited to the Emerald Cost Open Lionfish Tournament and Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival, hosted by the Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The Festival hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. -5 p.m. The festival will include educational booths about lionfish and marine related topics, fillet demonstrations, conservation organizations, artists, and other non-profit and commercial vendors. The lionfish tournament count station will open from 3 – 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 7 – 11 a.m. on Sunday. The awards ceremony will take place Sunday afternoon after all the lionfish are counted. Participating teams who bring in the most lionfish will be awarded $10,000 for first place. Additionally, teams can win $5,000 for the largest lionfish and $5,000 for the smallest lionfish.

The Pre-Tournament, which started in February, has already removed over 5,000 lionfish – shattering records from previous years. Emerald Coast Open officials expect this weekend’s main tournament to produce record numbers.

For more information, visit EmeraldCoastOpen.com or Facebook.com/EmeraldCoastOpen

For information about Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, visit FWCReefRangers.com