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Lionfish beware: FWC approves two-part lionfish removal effort for 2016

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#1 rc6750

  • NANFA Member
  • Tampa Bay, FL

Posted 14 April 2016 - 10:13 AM

Lionfish beware: FWC approves two-part lionfish removal effort for 2016

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission sent this bulletin at 04/14/2016 10:50 AM EDT


April 14, 2016


Suggested Tweet: Two-part lionfish removal effort approved for 2016: https://content.govd...lletins/1432ce3#Florida #fishing


Lionfish beware: FWC approves two-part lionfish removal effort for 2016


At its April 13 meeting in Jupiter, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved a two-part lionfish plan to further encourage removals of the invasive species in 2016.

Lionfish have a potential negative impact on native wildlife and habitat and the FWC encourages divers and anglers to remove them from Florida waters whenever they can.

The two-part initiative will include a statewide reward program that will expand upon 2015 efforts and a Panhandle Pilot Program.

“Innovative programs like these are a great way to generate public involvement and interest in controlling the lionfish population,” said FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski. “Those that remove lionfish not only get rewarded for their efforts, but they also get the experience of helping manage Florida’s fisheries. In addition, involving Florida’s residents and visitors helps us gather better data to continuously evaluate and improve our approach to invasive species control.”  

Statewide Program

To qualify in the statewide program, participants must remove 50 or more lionfish between Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day (May 14, 2016) and the end of September. Qualified participants will receive a commemorative coin to mark their membership and an event T-shirt; be featured in the FWC Lionfish Hall of Fame on the MyFWC.com website; be entered in drawings to win prizes including fishing licenses, lionfish harvesting equipment, fuel cards and dive tank refills; and, if qualified before the relevant fishing seasons start, they will have the opportunity to take an additional spiny lobster per day during the 2016 mini-season (July 27-28). FWC will also consider allowing the opportunity to harvest an additional bag limit per day of bay scallops during Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3-5, 2016), where population can support harvest.

Qualifying lionfish must be counted via an FWC approved process such as a sponsored tournament or a check-in location. These locations will be listed online at MyFWC.com/Lionfish. All other fishing regulations still apply.

The person who “checks in” the most lionfish between the Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day kick-off and the end of September will be crowned Florida’s Lionfish King or Queen and will receive a lifetime saltwater fishing license, have his or her photograph featured on the cover of the FWC’s January 2017 saltwater regulations publication, be featured on MyFWC.com’s Lionfish Hall of Fame, and be recognized at the November 2016 Commission meeting.

Panhandle Pilot Program

The Panhandle Pilot Program will focus on lionfish removal efforts off Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties, where lionfish can be found in high densities. For every 100 lionfish harvested from this seven-county region between May 2016 and May 2017, the harvester will be eligible to receive a tag allowing them to take either a legal-sized red grouper or a legal-sized cobia that is over the bag limit from state waters. The state will issue 100 red grouper and 30 cobia tags in total to successful participants in the pilot program. In addition, any person or group that harvests 500 or more lionfish during this one-year period will be given the opportunity to name an artificial reef.

The FWC will be working to establish as many lionfish check-in locations as possible between now and May 14, and lionfish recorded at FWC-sponsored tournaments will automatically count. A list of tournaments and check-in locations will be available on MyFWC.com/Lionfish prior to May 14.

Learn more about lionfish, including the two-day FWC hosted Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival (May 14-15) in Pensacola at MyFWC.com/Lionfish or ReefRangers.com.





#2 rc6750

  • NANFA Member
  • Tampa Bay, FL

Posted 17 May 2016 - 02:51 PM

A whopping 8,089 lionfish removed off Pensacola, state size record broken, during second Lionfish Day




#3 fundulus

  • Global Moderator

Posted 17 May 2016 - 04:18 PM

I hate to say it, but this horse is long gone from the barn.

Bruce Stallsmith, Huntsville, Alabama, US of A

#4 Doug_Dame

  • NANFA Member

Posted 17 May 2016 - 07:01 PM

FWC should sponsor a contest, aimed primarily at college engineering and oceanography programs, to develop an autonomous, lionfish-hunting underwater drone.

Doug Dame

Floridian now back in Florida

#5 littlen

  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 18 May 2016 - 05:45 AM

A 445mm (17.5") fish!?  That is outrageous.  It is nice that there is still a lot of interest and motivation for their removal from reefs.  I think being able to dive and spear them makes it a lot more appealing than motor-boating down the Mississippi with a baseball bat going after flying carp.  Although I wouldn't pass on that either.  Thanks for sharing.   

Nick L.

#6 don212

  • NANFA Member

Posted 27 May 2016 - 08:04 AM

just saw whole foods is selling lionfish, would like to know where and how they are obtaining their stock

#7 rc6750

  • NANFA Member
  • Tampa Bay, FL

Posted 03 June 2016 - 09:36 AM

just saw whole foods is selling lionfish, would like to know where and how they are obtaining their stock



very interesting - just looked this up and this article says this:


"Ventura said Whole Foods is working with a robust network of divers in Marathon, Ponce Inlet, Destin and Pensacola to keep up with shipments. And yes, it takes divers using spears to catch lionfish."



#8 lilyea

  • NANFA Member
  • Peace River Watershed, Central Florida, USA

Posted 22 June 2016 - 04:15 PM

Wegmans is now selling lionfish that are sourced from Wild Fish Direct.


#9 Irate Mormon

Irate Mormon
  • NANFA Member
  • Crooked Creek, Mississippi

Posted 04 July 2016 - 10:49 PM

Great.  Now there's gonna be a whole new industry centered around lionfish, which will then be farmed and protected as a valuable commodity. 

-The member currently known as Irate Mormon

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