Today marks the start of Ocean Week in Florida, a time to help raise public awareness of the importance of Florida's coastal bodies of water.  Surrounded by water on three sides of the state, this week celebrates not only the Atlantic Ocean to the east, but also the Gulf of Mexico to the west, and the many smaller bodies of water surrounding the state.

In Bay County, Ocean Week is an opportunity to bring more awareness to the lionfish population control efforts that have ramped up over the past month.  Events are planned for throughout the week, culminating in to flagship events on Saturday: Ocean Fest, to be held at Captain Anderson's Marina on Saturday with dive history tents, cooking demonstrations, SeaLab tours, and more.  The Lion Tamer Dive Tournament will also bring together divers from all across the gulf coast to hunt lionfish as they compete for a variety of different prizes.

This special week has earned special recognition by the state of Florida, as Rep. Jimmy Patronis sponsored HR 9053 which officially designates July 21 to July 27 as Ocean Week.