How do you measure the success of a lionfish tournament? How about with the 163 lionfish divers brought out of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary last weekend for the 2nd Annual Marathon Lionfish Tournament hosted by Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys. The invasive lionfish, caught from 6-feet of water to 200-feet depths, were counted, then cooked for dinner at Castaway Waterfront Restaurant. The largest lionfish was 17 inches, and the smallest was less barely 3 inches. The biggest actually left his lunch of two reef fish at our feet, showing how devastating just one lionfish can be to our precious reef.

2nd Annual Marathon Lionfish Tournament
Team Raw Deal out of Castaway Waterfront Restaurant brought in 131 lionfish for the two-day tournament. Most of their lionfish were caught in 200 feet of water. Yes, John Mirabella has one in his mouth!
2nd Annual Marathon Lionfish Tournament
Carmen Powers of L.M.T. Last Minute Team brought in two of the biggest fish including a 17-inch lionfish.
2nd Annual Marathon Lionfish Tournament
Glenda Keach of Key Colony Beach shows off two of her catch.
2nd Annual Marathon Lionfish Tournament
This is the 17-inch lionfish, it spit out two reef fish when caught, and four of the smallest lionfish caught.
2nd Annual Marathon Lionfish Tournament
Lionfish are delicious eating here in the Keys with a white, flaky filet much like hogfish. People often ask about ciguatera poisoning, research by REEF.org, the leaders in lionfish studies, explains that you only need to worry about eating lionfish from places where you would also worry about eating a grouper for the same reason.
2nd Annual Marathon Lionfish Tournament
Rachel Bowman of Marathon shows off this invasive lionfish.

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