FWC Changes Lionfish Regulations

This following information is from Sun-Sentinel.com

File:MC Rotfeuerfisch.jpgThe Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has made changes to enable divers to kill more lionfish. Harvesting the invasive fish no longer will require a fishing license when using certain gear and there is no recreational or commercial bag limit.

The FWC is taking these actions to encourage more people to kill lionfish. The changes, enacted by an executive order, apply only through August 2013. They are:

§  A recreational fishing license is not required to target lionfish while using a pole spear, a Hawaiian sling, a handheld net or any spearing device that is specifically designed and marketed exclusively for lionfish.

§  There is no recreational or commercial harvest bag limit for lionfish.

The changes do not allow spearing in areas where spearfishing is prohibited and apply to state waters only, which is from shore to 9 miles in Gulf of Mexico waters and from shore to 3 miles in Atlantic waters.

Lionfish are a nonnative invasive species that threatens Florida’s saltwater fish and wildlife. They prey on native fish and wildlife and can reduce native populations. Lionfish also compete for food with native fish such as grouper and snapper.

Lionfish have venomous spines, so be careful when handling the fish. For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on Saltwater Fishing, then Recreational Regulations, then Lionfish.

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