Sarasota Lionfish Derby

Multiple Dates

The Sarasota Lionfish Derby tasting tickets are SOLD OUT. Please stay tuned for next year's event!

You’re invited to partner in the fourth annual Sarasota Lionfish Derby! This exciting and environmentally beneficial event will be hosted by Mote Marine Laboratory, a world-class marine science institution, in cooperation with Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), which helps study and address the lionfish invasion and sanctions official Lionfish Derbies.

Lionfish Derbies are an important way to harvest large numbers of this invasive species that has spread along the eastern Atlantic coast, Columbia to Escambia counties. Derbies help divers harvest lionfish, provide public education and opportunities to taste the delicious lionfish for free. 

This year’s event will be based at Mote, with a captain's meeting on July 7, lionfish hunting July 8 in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico — tournament boundaries are defined as Collier County to Escambia County — and the lionfish weigh-in July 9 at Mote Marine Laboratory. Cost to participate in the Derby is $120.00 per team (minimum 2 people per team, maximum 4 people). The public is invited to join Mote scientists and derby participants at the weigh-in for educational dissections and lionfish tastings on Sunday.

Lionfish Cooking Competition

All 175 tickets have been sold for the tasting event. Participating restaurants include:

  • Chef Erik Walker of The Beach House: Kaffir-cured lionfish waffle cone with coconut sabayon
  • Chef Alex Vasquez of Mattison's Forty-One: Seafood paella topped with sautéed lionfish
  • John Mancini of the Deep Sea Diner: Lionfish tacos with shredded cilantro cabbage and crema cilantro sauce topped with charred corn
  • Chef Steve Phelps of Indigenous: Baked lionfish garlic toast
  • Chef Gerard Jesse of The Seafood Shack Marina, Bar & Grill: Lionfish mousseline in ravioli with savory soft-whipped cream, toasted goat cheese and fresh basil pesto

Questions about hunting lionfish? Contact Marie Diaz at

Special thanks to our Sarasota Lionfish Derby sponsors: Mike Marco

Upcoming Dates

  • July 9, 2017

Contact Us for more information.

Mike Z. Marco, an agile project management consultant. 312.804.9992
Sarasota Lionfish Derby


More Info


Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

1600 Ken Thompson Parkway
Sarasota, FL 34236