Look out, lionfish. The Florida FWC is making it easier for people to harvest you.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on April 17 at its meeting near Tallahassee discussed waiving the commercial and recreational bag limit and the recreational license requirement for divers harvesting lionfish using certain gear.
In August 2012, the FWC put a temporary rule in place that waived the recreational fishing license requirement when targeting lionfish with a hand-held net, pole spear, Hawaiian sling or any other spearing device designed and marketed exclusively for lionfish.
This temporary rule change also removed any bag limits when recreationally or commercially harvesting lionfish. Prior to the change, recreational anglers could not catch more than 100 pounds of lionfish without being required to have a commercial license.
The temporary rule change expires Aug. 3.
The Commissioners will finalize the license waiver and the bag limit removal at their June meeting in Lakeland.
Lionfish are a nonnative, invasive species that negatively impact Florida’s native saltwater fish and wildlife. Currently, the most effective method of removing lionfish from Florida waters is by spearing or using a hand-held net. Removing the license requirements and bag limits will increase lionfish harvest opportunities.
For more on the proposal presented to Commissioners, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and click on “Commission Meetings.”