And the 2019 Lionfish Challenge winners are…

Native to the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea, lionfish can be found year-round in Florida waters and from North Carolina to South America, including the Gulf of Mexico. FWC photo by Amanda Nalley

Check out the fourth annual Lionfish Challenge stats below on who took home the top prizes and more. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be honoring the first place winners in each category at its December meeting in Panama City Beach.


Ken Ayers is the 2019 Lionfish Challenge recreational winner/Lionfish King. Photo courtesy of Ken Ayers.

  • 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.

    Joshua Livingston, left, and brother Joe. Joshua took first place in the 2019 Lionfish Challenge Commercial category. Photo courtesy of Joshua Livingston.

  • 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.

  • Final Stats
    • 23,451 lionfish removed.
      349 people registered.
      148 people submitted lionfish (134 recreational, 14 commercial).
      The Lionfish Challenge ran from May 18-Sept. 2.


    The Lionfish Challenge rewards harvesters with prizes for their lionfish removals. This year, participants who submitted the largest and smallest lionfish were eligible to receive up to $3,000 in cash prizes thanks to support from sponsors: American Sportfishing Association, Yamaha Motor Company, Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County and National Marine Manufacturers Association. Thanks to these and the Lionfish Challenge Raffle sponsors including Florida Underwater Sports, Toothless Life, Lionator Pole Spears, Neritic Diving, Stream2Sea, ZooKeeper and Customatic Optics. The Lionfish Challenge could not be possible without your help. Learn more at


    Support Florida lionfish control programs by purchasing a Rep Your Water lionfish hat at Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida.



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