Invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish are breeding and preying on Atlantic wildlife in plague-like proportions. Florida Fish…
The new law will:
- Prohibit the importation of live lionfish into Florida; This means that Floridian aquarist can no longer mail-order lionfish,
- Allow the harvest of lionfish when diving with a rebreather,
- And increase 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.
Note: The new regulations does not make it illegal for aquarist to own lionfish in Florida. It only makes it illegal to import lionfish from out-of-state/country. Floridian aquarists wishing to keep lionfish must purchase a specimen caught in Floridian waters.
Although the law is a proverbial drop in the bucket to fight an epidemic that has bloomed over the past three decades, may be too little too late, and should prove challenging to enforce, the ban was expected. Any step to help control lionfish populations in the Atlantic (eradication is unrealistic at this point) is a positive step, however small it may be.