Lionfish tournament kicks off in Okaloosa County

DESTIN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Okaloosa County officials announced the county will be hosting what they hope will be the largest lionfish tournament in history.

Credit: Okaloosa County

The tournament kicked off this weekend, but it runs until May 19.

The tournament's goal is to reduce the population of lionfish species. Lionfish prey on native fish and damage the ecosystem.

Okaloosa County Marine Resource Coordinator Alex Fogg said, "Nothing really recognizes them as something they need to fear, or something they want to eat, and the problem is, lionfish are competing with a lot of the native species we have and are actually preying on them."

The cost to enter is $75, but will go up to $100 after April 1.