Florida has banned the importation of live lionfish to help combat the voracious predator's invasion of its waters.
The ban, which comes into force on August 1, covers all fish of the Pterois genus.
Other changes made by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at its meeting on June 18, include:
- 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
- Allowing participants in approved tournaments and other organised events to spear lionfish or other invasive species in areas where spearfishing is not allowed. This will be done through a permitting system.
"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,"said State Rep. Holly Raschein, who has been proactive in the lionfish-control efforts.
Both Pterios volitans and P. miles have invaded Florida waters.
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