Sarasota hosts Lionfish Derby

- More than a dozen teams from across Tampa Bay will compete this weekend in the 4th annual Lionfish Derby.  It's hosted by Mote Marine Laboratory.

Fisherman Danny Ward, plans on coming out on top. "I looked at all that prize money on the table and said that's just easy money," Ward said.

Friday he faced his competition at the captains' meeting ahead of this weekend's event. 

"We've been leaving all the lion fish where they were for last 5 months, and we know where there's quite a few," Ward said.

Their population around Florida has exploded and is wreaking havoc on the native species.  They'll eat anything that fits in their mouths. 

"Eradication is not on the table. There are too many, and they're too widespread and at depths that we can't get to, but we are finding control of Lionfish is definitely possible," said derby organizer Lad Akins.

"We start seeing a lot of Lionfish 80 feet deep, 80 to 120 feet is where we'll be diving tomorrow," Ward said.

Teams will leave around sunrise on Saturday and have to return with their catch around 1 p.m. Sunday.

$3500 in cash prizes is up for grabs.

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