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Lionfish Sightings

You can report a lionfish sighting at the USGS website. Early in the INVASION it was important to know when and where lionfish were showing up, especially in places where they were never seen before. Lately, in most places where they have been reported, population numbers are increasing fast.

Lionfish Sightings

Photo by Richard Carey

Lionfish Bank Locations

Locations where lionfish can be dropped off in the Florida Keys to be used for research purposes.

Key Largo: Silent World, Quiescence, Sea Dwellers, Horizon Divers, REEF office

Tavernier: Conch Republic, Florida Keys Dive Center, Coral Shores High School

Islamorada: Key Dives

Marathon: Tilden's Dive Ceter

Lower Keys: Looe Key Dive Center, Mote Marinelab

Key West: Dive Key West, Ecodiscovery Center


Lionfish Roundup for Pennekamp's 50th Anniversary: Pennekamp and REEF are hosting a Lionfish Roundup to be held Wednesday December 8th as part of the week-long celebration of Pennekamp's 50th anniversary! Register Here

Support groups who are working to rid our reefs of lionfish!

Reef Environmental Education Foundation

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

For further information, please contact the following experts:

James A. Morris, Jr., Ph.D.- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Dr. Mark Hixon- Department of Zoology, Oregon State University

Lad Akins- Director of Operations, REEF

Stephanie Green- Tropical Marine Ecology Lab, Simon Fraser University

Scott Donahue- NOAA/Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

What if I get stung?!!

If your involvement includes an up-close and personal experience with a lionfish spine, here is what the eMedicine website reports:

92% of patients experienced local pain

60% experienced edema (thatís swelling)

13% experienced systemic symptoms

There were no fatalities. Wounds were graded with the use of a grading system, and 95% of the wounds were found to be grade I (erythema, thatís redness of the skin), 4% were found to be grade II (vesicle formation), and 1% were found to be grade III (tissue necrosis).

Judging from this and other reports in the United States, the vast majority of lionfish stings appear to result in uncomplicated wounds with severe local pain that is responsive to immersion therapy. While reports of fatalities exist, detailed documentation is sparse and deaths must be very rare.

And the USGS website adds additional information about how hot the water should be to treat a sting and they provide a 24/7 telephone number if you need more help after getting stung.

Stings from lionfish can be serious, and should not be taken lightly. If stung, immerse wound in hot water (100-110 įF or 38-43 įC) for 15-20 minutes. Do not burn skin and seek medical attention as soon as possible. It is recommended that you call the Aquatic Toxins Hotline at the Florida Poison Information Center in Miami, where medical experts will advise you immediately. This Hotline is available 24/7, and the number is (outside US 011, not toll-free) 888-232-8635.