For the third year, Mote Marine is hosting their annual Lionfish Derby. After seeing great success the past 2 years, they have decided to kick the event up a notch this year. This year, the event will be about more than just the competition among the captains who catch the Lionfish. After the weigh in, awards will be presented to those who caught the most Lionfish.
As these captains receive their honors, local chefs will be making the most of this freshly caught fish. Chefs Steve Phelps (Indigenous Restaurant), Paul Mattison (Mattison's Restaurant and Catering), Erik Walker (Chiles Restaurant Group), and Gerard Jesse (Seafood Shack) will each cook the Lionfish in a unique way to give the crowd a sense of different ways this fish can be enjoyed. Samples of their creations will be available for all attendees to try for free.
This event serves many purposes. Not only is it educational for attendees, both for new information they may learn about the Lionfish species, but also for their palates as they try this fish for maybe the first time. It is also a fun and unique way to take care of an increasing problem. Lionfish are considered an invasive species. This means that Lionfish are not actually native to our waters, but have been introduced here and are now spreading enough that they could potentially cause damage to other species who are native to the Gulf Coast of Florida.