OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. — An Okaloosa County man has won the recreational division of the 2022 Lionfish Challenge, and another Okaloosa resident won second place in the commercial division, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has announced.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Isaac Jones of Okaloosa County won first place in the recreational division with 1,018 lionfish. Alex Fogg of Okaloosa County won second place in the commercial division with 1,090 pounds of lionfish
The seventh annual Lionfish Challenge came to a close on Sept. 6, and the competition was stiff until the very end. Participants in this year’s tournament broke several records in their quest to earn the title of Lionfish King or Queen and Commercial Champion, the FWC said.
The 2022 tournament boasted a total of 707 registered participants, the most in the program’s history. In all, 196 divers conducted a total of 676 trips throughout the state during the three-month tournament and brought in a whopping 25,299 lionfish.
This is the highest tournament total since 2018.
Here are the winners of the 2022 Lionfish Challenge:
- Lionfish King (first place, Recreational Division): Isaac Jones, Okaloosa County – 1,018 lionfish
- Second place Recreational Division: Baye Beauford, Duval County – 863 lionfish
- Third place Recreational Division: Helen Rodney, Broward County – 800 lionfish
- Commercial Champion (First place Commercial Division): Paul DeCuir, Gulf Shores, Ala. (dives Escambia County) – 1,092 pounds of lionfish
- Second place Commercial Division: Alex Fogg, Okaloosa County – 1,090 pounds of lionfish
- Third place Commercial Division: Isidoro Bedoya, Duval County – 1,008 pounds of lionfish
The 2022 Lionfish Challenge was sponsored by FloGrown, a Florida-based fishing and outdoor apparel company. FloGrown designed, printed, and donated custom tournament T-shirts that were awarded to all participants who reached the first prize tier of the tournament.
The Lionfish Challenge is a summer-long tournament that rewards divers for their lionfish harvests. The tournament is open to everyone, is completely free to enter, and participants can compete from anywhere in the state. Divers receive prizes based on the amount of lionfish they harvest and compete for the title of the Lionfish King/Queen or Commercial Champion.