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FWC: 23,451 Invasive Lionfish Removed from Florida Waters

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Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) announced winners of the 2019 Lionfish Challenge, which ran from May 18 through Sept. 2, 2019 with 349 registered participants across the state. According to FWC’s final total, 23,451 Lionfish were removed from Florida waters.

Lionfish are an invasive species that destroy vital marine life in Florida’s ecosystem. FWC will honor the first place winners in each category at its December meeting in Panama City Beach.

Recreational Category:

  • First place Lionfish King: Ken Ayers, Bay County, 1,194 removed.
  • Second place: John McCain, Gilchrist County, 983 removed.
  • Third place: Shea Lowe, Escambia County, 942 removed.

Commercial Category:

  • First place Commercial Champion: Joshua Livingston, Okaloosa County, 3,192.8 lbs. removed.
  • Second place: Ron Surrency, Duval County, 1,720 lbs. removed.
  • Third place: Alex Fogg, Okaloosa County, 1,210.5 lbs. removed.

Largest Lionfish

  • First place: Ron Surrency, Duval County, 433 mm.
  • Second place: Joshua Livingston, Okaloosa County, 420 mm.
  • Third place: Koa Viravong, Pinellas County, 414 mm.

Smallest Lionfish

  • First place: Nikkie Cox, Franklin County, 37 mm.
  • Second place: Ken Ayers, Bay County, 45 mm.
  • Third place: Alex Fogg, Okaloosa County, 52 mm.


  • Matt O'Hern

    Matt O’Hern’s journalism experience includes 20 years of reporting and consulting for various news outlets in Florida and Alabama. O’Hern earned his journalism degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

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