At a Sept. 10 meeting in Kissimmee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) acted to prohibit lionfish aquaculture. Lionfish are an invasive species that have a negative impact on native fish and habitat.
The changes will go into effect by Dec. 1. Updates will be available at MyFWC.com/Lionfish.
Management changes were developed in coordination with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and include:
- Prohibiting the harvest and possession of lionfish eggs and larvae for any purpose other than destruction;
- Prohibiting the intentional breeding of lionfish in captivity.
A scientific research exception will allow permitted research institutions to breed and cultivate lionfish for the purposes of researching population control and impact mitigation.
“Every lionfish prevented from entering Florida waters, and every change that encourages removal is a step toward successfully limiting the negative impacts lionfish have on native fish and wildlife,” said FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley.
The FWC implemented several management changes including prohibiting the importation of live lionfish into Florida effective Aug. 1. The FWC encourages divers and anglers to remove lionfish whenever they can.
See or catch a lionfish? Report a sighting by downloading the new Report Florida Lionfish app on a smart device or by visiting MyFWC.com/Lionfish and clicking on “Report Lionfish.”