lionfish

Florida’s wildlife agency will be holding a lionfish summit in the Fall. The goal is to find more ways to get rid of the spiny invasive species plaguing state waters.

From “smart traps” to underwater drones, Florida’s wildlife agency hopes five organizations will spend thousands of dollars in grant funding to find new ways to further target lionfish. The spiny invasive species eat fish native to Florida, have no natural predators, and can lay thousands of eggs over a short period of time.

Florida wildlife officials are awarding $250,000 to five organizations to research new ways to remove invasive lionfish from deep-water habitats.

The Lionfish Challenge is underway, and it’s one of several efforts to rid Florida of the invasive species that has no natural predators and negatively impacts wildlife.

More than 15,000 lionfish were recently removed from Florida waters as the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has started a more than three-month effort to remove the invasive species from state waters.

Miami Herald

Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill aimed at reducing the number of pythons and other invasive species that cause damage in parts of the state, including the Everglades.

The bill (SB 168), which Scott signed Friday after it was unanimously approved this month by the Legislature, sets up a pilot program targeting pythons and species such as tegu lizards and lionfish.

Under the program, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be able to enter contracts with people to capture or destroy the species on public lands and in state waters.

Florida wildlife officials say lionfish harvesters are crucial to getting rid of the invasive species. But, lionfish removal divers are urged to safely remove the fish without causing any natural habitat damage.

  Saturday is "Lionfish Awareness and Removal Day" in Florida. Lionfish are an invasive species off Florida's coasts. People in southwest Florida are studying the fish's impact and others are helping to keep the invasive species' population under control. 

This Saturday is not only Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, it’s also the kick off for Florida’s Lionfish Challenge—an incentive program to encourage people to remove the nonnative species. State wildlife officials are doing a bit of a revamp this year.