What does it mean to be a Reef Ranger?

Being a Reef Ranger means that you defend your local reefs against the effects of the lionfish invasion. Reef Rangers pledge to clean lionfish off their chosen reefs several times a year to control the local population.

What are the requirements for becoming a Reef Ranger?
  • Reef Rangers should be SCUBA certified through a recognized organization (PADI, NAUI, SSI, etc.) OR a snorkeler/skin diver
  • Reef Rangers should have a saltwater fishing license unless they are fishing for lionfish using a Hawaiian sling, a pole spear, a hand-held dip net or any spearing device specifically designed for lionfish.
  • Reef Rangers must sign up and choose a reef to defend.
What if I want to help and I am not a diver?

While lionfish are rarely caught hook and line, you can still participate as a Reef Ranger. You can hook-and-line fish for lionfish, or you can sponsor a Reef Ranger team/individual here.

How do I sign up to become a Reef Ranger?

Go to the Become a Reef Ranger page and choose your reef!

How do I harvest lionfish safely?
  • View lionfish harvesting gear under About Lionfish.
  • If using a pole spear, be sure to use a tip with multiple points to prevent the fish from sliding down the pole while holding it.
  • Wear puncture-resistant gloves to prevent getting stung.
  • Avoid venomous spines while handling the fish. Watch our video “How to Fillet a Lionfish” to see where these spines are.
What if the reef I am interested in is already taken?

You can ask to join a team who has already pledged to protect that reef, or search for nearby reefs on the map.

What should I do if there are other divers on my selected reef?
  • If they are hunting lionfish, they are helping our cause. Let other divers know about the Reef Rangers program and how they can continue to help.
  • If you feel lionfish are being controlled on your selected reef by other divers, you can log into your account and choose another reef.
Why is FWC doing this?

FWC encourages divers to remove invasive lionfish whenever safely possible. Lionfish threaten native fish and wildlife populations and have no natural control mechanism in our waters. FWC is spreading the word and asking divers to participate in a statewide effort towards lionfish control.

How much does it cost for me to participate?

Reef Rangers is no-cost to join. Divers can participate on a volunteer-basis. If additional funding is needed to help your team be successful, consider getting a sponsor.