Skip to Main Content Skip to Main Navigation
Join the Griffin's Guide HUNTING newsletter

Get weekly news, tips and photos from the world of hunting.
Enter Your Email Address:
No Thanks!
The 2014 Oklahoma Waterfowl Guide is now available!
To view the new guide, please view the Digital Edition. Check back in the coming days as we work to put up the new 2014 website.

Below is content from the 2013 guide.

Waging War On Lionfish Invaders

Brought to you by:

Aren’t they beautiful? Absolutely! With their long flowing fins and bold
colorful stripes, lionfish appear graceful and beautiful to most observers. But don’t be fooled by their beauty, lionfish are no friend to Florida’s fragile reef ecosystems. Lionfish have no predators of their own and they prey on ecologically important native reef species causing dramatic reductions in species diversity. Since their unfortunate introduction to Florida waters during the late 1980’s they have spread throughout the Caribbean, up the Atlantic Coast to North Carolina and along Florida’s gulf coast to the Florida Panhandle region.

Invaders from another planet?
Not quite! Lionfish are native to the South Pacific and Indian oceans — and that’s truly where they belong. Scientists are almost certain that lionfish did not swim here on their own with the intention of destroying our reefs. As it turns out, lionfish have been flying around the world on jet airplanes for a long time so there was no need to make the long swim.

So what can be done to save the reefs? The only thing we can do in the short term is fight fire with fire. For those who are willing and able to fight (and equipped with a recreational saltwater
fishing license), this means breaking out the dive gear, nets and bayonets and charging into battle!

So what are the rules? From a fisheries management standpoint, the lionfish is an unregulated species so you can:

  • Harvest up to 100 pounds per person per day (no vessel limit) with a recreational license — and that will make for one large fish fry.
  • Use any otherwise legal recreational fishing gear including spear guns, gigs, hook and line and dip nets — no electricity,
    grenades, plastic explosives, etc!
  • Shoot first and measure later because there is no size limit.

On a serious note, if you decide to harvest lionfish, it is very important that you understand the dangers and that you follow all necessary safety precautions. Behind the veil of beautiful featherlike fins are venomous spines that can and will inflict painful wounds. Learn to properly capture and handle this species before you go! Be careful!

What’s the long term plan? While all we can do right now is “harvest baby harvest,” genetic solutions may be developed in the future that can stop their population explosion by eliminating successful reproduction. It is also possible that some of our native predatory species will eventually take up the fight and help to control these beautiful invaders.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

Return to the eregulations.com home page
Brought to you by:
Conservation Partner Advertisements: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission allows appropriate advertising in its annual regulation guides in print and online, in order to defray or eliminate expenses to the state, and support enhanced communications with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Constituents. Through a unique partnership with J.F.Griffin Publishing, LLC & eRegulations.com, ‘Conservation Partners’ have been established that pay for advertising in support of the regulations both in print and online. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission neither endorses products or services listed or claims made; nor accepts any liability arising from the use of products or services listed. Advertisers interested in the Conservation Partners program should contact J.F.Griffin/eRegulations.com directly at 413-884-1001,
This is not the full law. Consult the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for further details. All persons are reminded that the statutes, code and regulations are the legal authorities.
JF Griffin Media
J.F. Griffin Media reaches 9,000,000 sportsmen every year through our print and digital publications. We produce 30 hunting and fishing regulation guides for 15 state agencies. For advertising information, please visit: www.jfgriffin.com