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New Rules Target Invasive Lionfish


July 29, 2014 | WMFE, Orlando - New management rules targeting lionfish take effect Aug. 1. The rules are aimed at ridding Florida waters of the prickly invasive species.

Lionfish are voracious eaters with no known predators.

Amanda Nalley of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says they damage reefs.

"Not only are they having an effect on the reef itself by eating up things that maybe keep the algae in check, for example, on that reef. They're also competing with larger predators especially economically important predators like snapper and grouper."

The new rules prohibit live lionfish from entering the state for aquariums.

They also allow divers wearing a kind of scuba equipment called a rebreather to catch lionfish with a spear. And they expand the number of places where lionfish can be caught.

Nalley says Floridians who spot a lionfish in Florida waters should remove it if they can and report it to Florida Fish and Wildlife. 

 

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