DESTIN — The Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Tournament has announced the largest cash prize award in the history of lionfish tournaments, according to a press release from Okaloosa County.

Participating teams who bring in the most lionfish will be awarded $10,000 for first place. Teams also can win $5,000 for the largest lionfish and $5,000 for the smallest lionfish. More cash prizes will be announced May 1 for the 2nd-6th places in each category.

The Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Tournament at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar in Destin will be hosted by Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Emerald Coast Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. The tournament begins at sunrise May 17 and ends at 11 a.m. May 19 with an awards ceremony.

The public is encouraged to attend the Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day festival May 18-19. The festival will include educational booths about lionfish, fillet demonstrations, conservation organizations, artists and other nonprofit and commercial vendors.

Lionfish Restaurant Week will be May 10-16, when featured restaurants will serve the fish. Restaurant schedules can be found at fwcreefrangers.com/about/lionfish-festival.

For more information, visit EmeraldCoastOpen.com or Facebook.com/EmeraldCoastOpen. For information about Lionfish Removal And Awareness Day, visit FWCReefRangers.com