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Tag: lionfish

Sportfishing Industry Supports Florida’s Invasive Lionfish Removal Incentive Program


Sportfishing Industry Supports Florida’s Invasive Lionfish Removal Incentive Program

Funding will reward harvesters who find and remove tagged lionfish

December 6, 2017 – Alexandria, VA – The American Sportfishing Association (ASA), along with other fishing and boating industry leaders and organizations, presented the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) with funding to support the 2018 tagged-lionfish removal incentive program. The program rewards harvesters who find and remove previously tagged lionfish from waters around the state of Florida. ASA’s contribution is part of an overall $25,000 donation presented at the start of the three-day meeting being held in Gainesville, Fla.

“The American Sportfishing Association is proud to help fund the FWC’s 2018 tagged-lionfish removal incentive program,” said Glenn Hughes, ASA’s vice president for Industry Relations. “We are thankful for FWC’s dedication to lionfish control efforts and their development of innovative approaches to combat this invasive species and to protect Florida’s native ecosystems.”

“It’s important for Florida’s recreational industry to be involved in the fight against invasive lionfish that threaten our fisheries, which is why ASA and Keep Florida Fishing® continue to strongly support the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission through programs like these,” said Kellie Ralston, ASA’s Florida Fishery Policy director.

Lionfish are a nonnative invasive species that can reduce native fish populations and negatively affect the overall reef habitat. This program will run May 19, through Sept. 3, 2018, and will coincide with the annual summer-long Lionfish Challenge, which rewards recreational and commercial lionfish harvesters with prizes for submitting their lionfish removal efforts.

About the 2018 Tagged-Lionfish Removal Program

The goal of the 2018 tagged-lionfish removal program is to increase statewide removal efforts by giving divers a greater incentive to harvest lionfish more often while in search of the valuable tagged fish. Additional non-cash prizes are also available for those that harvest and submit a tagged lionfish.  The program will also provide FWC with valuable data on the movement of lionfish.

Approximately six to eight lionfish will be tagged at each of the 50 randomly-selected public artificial reef sites throughout the Atlantic and Gulf between the depths of 80 and 120 feet. Participants will have access to the reef locations at ReefRangers.com. Additional information about the rules and requirements of the tagged-lionfish removal program will be announced in early 2018.

About Keep Florida Fishing®

Keep Florida Fishing® is an advocacy arm of the American Sportfishing Association with the goal of ensuring Florida anglers have clean waters, abundant fisheries and access to both. Learn more at www.KeepFloridaFishing.org. Find Keep Florida Fishing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.


The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing®, our national angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.

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Lionfish–Just Kill ‘Em & Cook ‘Em

by on May.25, 2014, under Recipes and Food

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for catch-and-release or for just keeping enough fish for dinner.   But then there are lionfish, Pterois volitans, an invasive species threatening to eat juvenile reef fish and take over much of Florida’s offshore waters.

Previously found only in aquariums, these spectacular fish have in recent years invaded Florida’s reefs, raising concerns of scientists and anglers alike.  Armed with highly venomous spines, these fish have few predators with the exception of spear-fishermen.  In fact, the FWC now allows divers to harvest any number of lionfish without a recreational fishing license so long as they are doing so with pole spears, Hawaiian slings, or dip nets.  Lionfish season is open, and lionfish are an excellent choice for dinner.

You’ll have to catch your own lionfish or beg them from a friend.  My friends at Gainesville’s Northwest Seafood found me a few as by-catch from a deep-water grouper trip and gave me a lesson in cleaning them.  I recommend getting some heavy gloves, sharpening your favorite knife, and being extra-careful to not get stuck by one of the fish’s venomous spines.    Also, unless you know the origin of the fish you’re preparing, question your source regarding whether or not it came from a tropical or sub-tropical reef that’s known to hold fish with the ciguatera toxin.  Ciguatera isn’t fun and is certainly something to avoid.  If you’re not sure about the origin of your filets, consider using any other firm white fish for this recipe.

Chef Michael’s Lionfish Ambassador

Michael Ledwith, of Chef Michael’s Restaurant in Islamorada, claims lionfish taste much like hogfish, and that’s why you’ll sometimes find them on his menu.  His “Lionfish Ambassador” recipe makes those small tasty lionfish filets fit for any table.

4 to 6 fresh lionfish filets

1 tbs. butter

1 tbs. canola oil

1 tbs. chopped shallot

1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms

2 tbs. capers

I tbs. key lime juice

1 cup good Chardonnay wine

¼ cup heavy cream

1 tbs. chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley

½ cup fresh crab meat

In a large non-stick skillet, bring butter and oil to medium-high heat.  Season lionfish filets with salt and freshly ground pepper, then add to oil, cooking for about 3 minutes.  Remove fish from skillet and reserve on a plate.  Add shallots to hot skillet; cook for about one minute.  Add mushrooms and capers; cook about 2 minutes.  Add the wine and lime juice and simmer on medium heat for about 4 minutes.  Finally, add the cream, crab meat, parsley and the fish filets and simmer until the fish is fork-tender.

This recipe serves 4 and is best accompanied by grilled vegetables and a glass of whatever Chardonnay is left over from the recipe.

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Lionfish invasion: FWC moves forward with management changes, May 2016


Yes, there are lionfish all over the Gulf of Mexico.   They live in deep waters, but are invasive and should be considered so.  Here’s a recent post from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

News Release

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Media contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943

(Back to Commission meeting news)

The lionfish is an invasive species that threatens Florida’s native wildlife and habitat. With that in mind, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on April 16 moved forward with steps to combat the spread of invasive lionfish.

Changes proposed by FWC staff at today’s meeting near Tallahassee will be brought back before the Commission at its June meeting in Fort Myers for final approval. Changes include:

  • Prohibiting the importation of live lionfish;
  • Prohibiting the development of aquaculture of lionfish;
  • Allowing the harvest of lionfish when diving with a rebreather, a device that recycles air and allows divers to remain in the water for longer periods of time; and
  • Increasing opportunities that will allow participants in approved tournaments and other organized events to spear lionfish or other invasive species in areas where spearfishing is not allowed. This will be done through a permitting system.

Staff has been working with the Florida Legislature on a bill in support of the initiatives to prohibit the importation of live lionfish and the aquaculture of lionfish.

“By targeting the importation of lionfish to our state, we can limit the number of new lionfish that find their way into Florida waters and, at the same time, encourage further harvest to reduce the existing invasive population,” said State Rep. Holly Raschein, sponsor of the House bill. “These fish pose a significant threat to Florida’s ecosystem, and I am proud to stand in support of the proposed ban. Anything we can do to limit new lionfish introductions and further facilitate the development of a commercial market for this invasive species is a step in the right direction.”

Changes like these will make it easier for divers to remove lionfish from Florida waters and will help prevent additional introductions of lionfish into marine habitats.

Lionfish control efforts, from outreach and education to regulatory changes, have been a priority for FWC staff. In 2013, they hosted the first ever Lionfish Summit, which brought together various stakeholders from the public as well as management and research fields to discuss the issues and brainstorm solutions. The changes proposed at today’s meeting came from ideas that were discussed at the Lionfish Summit.

To learn more about these changes, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and “Commission Meetings.” To learn more about lionfish, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Lionfish.”

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FWC to unveil photo contest, launch ‘Lionfish Control Month’ with Twitter chat, April 2013

by on Mar.27, 2013, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

The lionfish have invaded, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants the public to join its Lionfish Control Team for the month of April.
This nonnative, invasive species has infiltrated state waters and has great potential to negatively impact Florida’s reefs and wildlife. These fish not only prey on native species, they also compete for food with economically important species such as grouper and snapper, and they can disrupt the balance of native populations, ultimately causing a cascade effect that can alter habitats.
Have you caught a lionfish? Photographed one? Want to know more about the lionfish problem? Join the FWC’s live Twitter chat from 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday, March 28. To participate, sign in to Twitter and follow @MyFWClife or #FWCLionfish. The chat will feature experts, including FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management biological scientist Mason Smith and public information specialist Amanda Nalley.
During the chat, the FWC will unveil its “Lionfish Control Team” photo contest. Tune in Thursday to find what your reward will be for submitting a photo.
Learn more about lionfish at MyFWC.com/Nonnatives; click on “Marine Life.”

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