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Hello lionfish hunters!

It's almost winter, which means the lionfish are coming shallow in big numbers.

That also means it's almost time for Bermuda's fourth annual Winter Lionfish Derby!!

The derby itself will run from January 1st until January 31st with a wrap-up party and awards ceremony be at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) on Saturday, February 3rd from 6pm until 9pm, upstairs on the second floor. Every lionfish you catch during this period counts to your total haul. To participate, you must have a valid, up-to-date lionfish culling permit from Bermuda's Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Did you renew yours in the past few months?

There will be a $25 entry fee for the derby that also gets you a ticket to the wrap-up party where we'll announce the winners. You can register at Premier Tickets (PTIX):

Bermuda's fourth annual Winter Lionfish Derby Logo

Every participant who spears lionfish in January and provides them to us will be entered into the contest and receive an official Winter Derby hooded sweatshirt. Depending on availability, a limited number of sweatshirts will be available the day of our wrap-up party for hunters who hunted, but came home empty-handed.

There will be cash prizes in both freediver and SCUBA diver categories.
  • $500 for the most (by number) lionfish caught by any team
  • $250 for the second most (by number) lionfish caught by any team
  • $100 for the third most (by number) lionfish caught by any team

There will also be a cash prize for the largest ($100) and smallest ($100) lionfish caught overall by any individual lionfish hunter, not in both categories.


There will be additional prizes for lionfish hunters who did not bring in big numbers, but still deserve a prize for their efforts. So even if you catch one single lionfish, you still might win something.

This year, teams of 2-4 hunters will be allowed and, in fact, required; we don't want to promote solo diving and hunting at any time, especially in the cold. To level the playing field and maximize participation among our permit holders, I'm sorry to say there will not be prize categories for the technical divers.

Lionfish will be collected through the month of January. Stay tuned for details. You must include a slip of paper with your name, permit number, date of capture, site of capture, and depth of capture for each fish. Please keep fish from different dives separate. We will accept whole lionfish or wracks (whatever is left after you take the fillet). Any fish you enter as a potential largest or smallest lionfish must be submitted whole, with or without spines attached. If providing wracks, the research team asks that you measure each whole fish before you take the fillet, and provide us with that information. This is optional, but greatly appreciated. Please freeze all lionfish as soon as possible and keep them frozen until you deliver them.

Stay tuned right here for any updates or follow the event at

Feel free to ask any questions on Facebook or email us at

Thank you for all that you do to help protect Bermuda's coral reef ecosystem.


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