Open season lionfish may become permanent in Florida

 

A temporary state rule declaring open season on lionfish may become permanent as a measure to keep the invasive species from becoming permanent Florida residents.

“We applaud the state for this effort. It makes it easier for people to go out and take part in lionfish removals,” said Lad Akins, special projects director at the Reef Environmental Education Foundation in Key Largo and one of the state’s most experienced lionfish catchers.

When the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meets Tuesday through Thursday in Lakeland, the state's fishery managers are expected to take a final vote on "eliminating the requirement for a recreational fishing license when targeting the nonnative, invasive lionfish with certain [dive] gear, and not imposing recreational or commercial limits on harvesting."

An executive order allowing divers and snorkelers to use catch bags, hand nets and spears, all without a fishing license, to catch or kill lionfish was issued last August for a one-year trial. An approval during Tuesday's consent agenda would make the rule permanent.

“Lionfish are extremely disruptive to native ecosystems, damaging reefs by preying upon fish important to the health of corals, and preying upon and competing with commercially important reef fish," an FWC staff report says.

Not requiring divers to have a saltwater fishing license “facilitates the removal of lionfish from the state waters off Florida.”

Read more Florida Keys stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category