Press Release: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
In an effort to determine research and management gaps and to bring together leaders in the lionfish issue, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting a Lionfish Summit Oct. 22-24 at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront hotel in Cocoa Beach.
The three-day summit is open to the public and will feature presentations from leaders in lionfish research and management, open discussions on where the gaps in research and management are, and brainstorming on the best methods to fill those gaps. The summit is being sponsored by the Guy Harvey Foundation, the Wildlife Foundation of Florida and Florida Sea Grant.
“The expansion of lionfish populations represents a serious threat to marine ecosystems in Florida,” said FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley. “Dealing with this highly invasive, nonnative species and the negative impacts on our environment and economy will require a strong cooperative effort among government agencies and affected stakeholders. All ideas are welcome in discovering new ways to help control lionfish populations, educate the public, mitigate the effects lionfish have on native species, and understand their impacts.”
Native to the Indo-Pacific region, lionfish were first spotted in Florida waters in the mid-1980s. In recent years, their numbers have increased dramatically and their population has spread throughout the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and up the Atlantic coast of the United States. Recent research indicates they have a negative impact on our native species and habitats. Lionfish have no natural predators in our waters, and they eat and compete for food with native species, including economically important species such as snapper and grouper. Currently, the best method of control is human removal via dip-net or spear.
To learn more or to register to attend, visit FWCLionfish.Eventbrite.com.