PENSACOLA, Fla. -- A team participating in the 3rd annual Lionfish World Championship this weekend braved rough conditions to remove over 900 lionfish from Florida waters along the panhandle.
According to the Miami Herald, the group calling themselves Team Hang On caught 926 lionfish over Friday and Saturday while diving 37 miles off Pensacola.
They accounted for nearly a quarter of the 3,868 lionfish caught in events held simultaneously across the state to raise awareness of the invasive species taking over Florida's reefs.
The divers -- Rachel Bowman of Marathon, Meaghan Faletti of St. Petersburg, and Nikki Cox of Apalachicola -- won the 1st place overall cash prize and bragging rights for a year.
From now through September, there are numerous derbies throughout Florida where divers and snorkelers compete to bring in the most lionfish for cash prizes. The next one in the Keys is June 9 to 11 in Key West. To find out more, go to www.myfwc.com/fishing.
For more information on the invasive lionfish, visit the FWC website.