2022 Standings

Total Lionfish Removed!

1st Place Most Lionfish – DeepWater Mafia

1st Place Largest Lionfish  – Big Blue

1st Place Smallest Lionfish – Alabama Jammin’

Emerald Coast Open

2022 Standings

The 2022 Emerald Coast Open lionfish tournament was a huge success.  With 145 participants this year, the lionfish population took a hit. We had several new teams participating and rank this year. After several years of hard work, we were excited to award one of our most active and dedicated teams, Deep Water Mafia with the highest prize of Most Lionfish. 

Until next year, we look forward to hearing the stories of conquest and removals, ceviches and tacos and saving our oceans, one speared lionfish at a time. And when the new year turns, sharpen those spears, pay your registrations and once again compete in the largest of competitions, the best of the best… The Emerald Coast Open

See you next year!


Most Lionfish


Place Team Name Number of Fish
1st Place Deepwater Mafia 1 1,623
2nd Place Lionfish University 1,274
3rd Place All Riled Up 938
4th Place Alabama Jammin 793
5th Place

In the Clouds

6th Place Down & Out 698

Biggest Lionfish

Place Team Name Size
1st Place Big Blue 436mm
2nd Place DWM Black Cat 431mm
3rd Place Lionfish University 428mm
4th Place Bottom Time 424mm
5th Place Alabama Jammin 422mm
6th Place Deepwater Mafia 1 419mm

Smallest Lionfish

Place Team Name Smallest
1st Place Alabama Jammin 39mm
2nd Place Big Blue 46mm
3rd Place Down & Out 51mm
4th Place Lookin Back 52mm
5th Place Honkey Dory 73mm
6th Place Lionfish University 74mm

Total Standings by Team

Place Team Name Number of Fish
1 Deepwater Mafia 1 1,623
2 Lionfish University 1,274
3 All Riled Up 938
4 Alabama Jammin 793
5 In The Clouds 771
6 Down & Out 698
7 Big Blue 677
8 Under Pressure 625
9 Shark Quest 508
10 Bottom Time 411
11 HookShot 382
12 Zookeeper 305
13 Niuhi 2 278
14 Niuhi 1 275
15 DWM Black Cat 267
16 Poseidon’s Pcola Possee 184
17 K9 Express 146
18 Spear It 144
19 Boyles Law and Disorder 135
20 Reel Easy 120
21 Repeat Offenders 101
22 Aggravated Assault 96
23 Narc’d Out 94
24 Lookin Back 88
25 Intrepid One 76
26 Rumfish 74
27 Reef Sweeper 69
28 Caught Lyon 27
29 Spear House 22
30 Roter 21
31 Todds Team 13
32 Lonestar Lions 7
33 Honky Dory 5
34 Opted out 3
35 Chapnick 1
2-day Total Lionfish Removed 11,253


Board of County Commissioners

May 19, 2022

Destin-Fort Walton Beach Hosts World’s Largest Lionfish Tournament

Okaloosa County, Fla. – Divers participating in the 4th Annual Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Tournament successfully removed 13,835 lionfish from local waters. The invasive species prey on native fish and have no known predators due to their venomous spines. Hosted by Destin-Fort Walton Beach, alongside Florida Fish and Wildlife at HarborWalk Village and AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, this event is a key component in mitigating the risk of a growing lionfish threat.

“We are fortunate to have a Coastal Resources Division in our community, focused on awareness and reducing the population of this invasive species,” said Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners Chairman Mel Ponder.

Divers from all over the country traveled to Destin-Fort Walton Beach for the spearfishing tournament held on May 13th and 14th. An award ceremony was held on Sunday announcing the winners of various categories including most lionfish removed, largest and smallest. The record for the smallest lionfish was broken at 39 millimeters during the main tournament by Alabama Jammin. Diver Tim Shivers collected 604 lionfish during the pre-tournament which surpassed the 2019 record. Thanks to Emerald Coast Open sponsors, participants were awarded $48,000 in cash and approximately $50,000 in prizes. Click HERE for a list of this year’s winners.

Several events were held over the weekend in conjunction with the tournament including The Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival hosted with Florida Fish and Wildlife which garnered 5,000 attendees. Over 40 vendors were in attendance with educational activities that focused on conservation efforts. Lionfish & Libations was a new event held at HarborWalk Village. These events allowed locals and visitors to learn about lionfish and even have the chance to experience tastings.

 Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Restaurant Week was held the week leading up to the tournament. Each evening, a local restaurant served a unique lionfish dish on their menu. The fish caught pre-tournament were provided to the participating restaurants to serve. The lionfish dishes were scored by a host of judges including a New Yorker Magazine journalist and Chief Scientist for NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries.  A scoring system was used and Chef Al Massa took the highest marks with Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer creation. They presented a Lionfish Pan-Seared dish with Black Forbidden Rice, Melting Zucchini Ribbons, with a Chardonnay Shellfish butter.

“We couldn’t be happier with the success of this year’s Emerald Coast Open Tournament with 145 tournament participants and 50 volunteers donating their time. Thank you to our sponsors for their support that continues the growth of the tournament and the education of lionfish management.  The removal of this many lionfish from our local water restores the ecosystem, especially as we head into a busy fishing season,” said Alex Fogg, Coastal Resource Manager, Destin-Fort Walton Beach.

 For more information on the Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Tournament visit emeraldcoastopen.com and for more on Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida, please visit www.destinfwb.com.

Download Release


By the Numbers

Lionfish Removed

Tournament Participants

An ongoing thanks to our 2022 Sponsors!