Measures by Wildlife Commission target invasive lionfish

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, meeting last week near Tallahassee, stepped up the battle against the spread of invasive lionfish. Commissioners gave preliminary approval to draft rules that would prohibit importation and development of aquaculture of lionfish; permit divers using rebreathers to harvest the venomous exotics; and expand opportunities for spearfishing tournaments to target lionfish.

The measures, which are expected to be adopted at the commission’s June meeting, mirror bills now before the Florida House and Senate.

In other action, commissioners approved a commercial daily trip and vessel limit of 200 sea cucumbers in both state and federal waters that will take effect June 1. Sea cucumbers are sedentary bottom-dwellers that are becoming a staple of Asian seafood markets, and commissioners said they wanted to be proactive in preventing overfishing.

The commission set a recreational harvest season for red snapper in Gulf state waters (less than nine miles from shore) to run from May 24 through July 14. The daily bag limit is two fish per person per day.

The panel moved forward with a proposal to create a Gulf Reef Fish Data Reporting System aimed at improving the collection of information about recreational reef fish catch and effort. If given the final nod in June, the measure would require anglers on private boats in Gulf state waters to submit their data in order to harvest or possess several species of snapper, grouper, amberjack and triggerfish. The measure would not apply to the Keys, nor to anglers fishing on charter or head boats.


• The Volatility fishing team of captain Tony DiGiulian and anglers Bart Hedges, Brandon Cunningham, Andreas Marcher and Gene Paluzzi won the eighth annual Cayman Swordfish Challenge in the Cayman Islands that concluded Monday. They weighed a daytime-caught fish of 225.8 pounds. Captain Bouncer Smith guided researchers from Nova Southeastern University to deploy a pop-off satellite tag in a 75-pound sword in conjunction with the tournament.

• IGFA Hall of Famer Marty Arostegui of Coral Gables will receive even more accolades at the organization’s world record achievement celebration Saturday at its Dania Beach headquarters. Arostegui took first place in the male all-tackle length category, and tied for the runner-up spot in the male freshwater and male fly rod classes.

• Nova Southeastern University and Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale present the “Beneath the Waves” Film Festival with a free screening at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Museum of Art’s Horwtiz Auditorium, One East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Seating is limited. Go to

• Register for the 21st annual Capt. Bob Lewis Kids Fishing Classic, held Friday and Saturday out of Shake-A-Leg Miami in Coconut Grove. Entry fee is $35 per angler; $40 for the offshore drift boat division covering one adult and one child. Visit or call 305-725-5614.

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Shane Hutto of Orlando holds up a large red snapper he caught off Port Canaveral with Cop Out Charters.

    Final red snapper of the season ready to be snapped up

    Only one weekend remains open in this summer’s eight-day red snapper recreational mini-season in federal South Atlantic waters. Anglers have from one minute after midnight Friday until midnight Saturday to bring home one fish per person of any size. After that, the season will be closed indefinitely.

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    This page is a regular weekly feature focusing on Florida outdoors adventures. Email

  • Fishing report

    Captain Dean Panos of Double D charters out of Keystone Point Marina reported large amounts of Sargasso weeds in the Gulf Stream continue to attract large numbers of dolphins. Most of the dolphins have been schoolies but a few have been more than 30pounds. The dolphins have been in depths from 400 feet of water out as far as 18 miles.

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