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FWC Raises Awareness on Lionfish Issue with Creation of 'Removal' Day

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) adopted a resolution to help raise awareness about the invasive-lionfish issue. At its meeting Feb. 5 in Jacksonville, the FWC designated the first Saturday after Mother's Day each year to be Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day.

On this day, through education and outreach, the FWC will encourage extra effort from the public to remove lionfish from Florida waters.

Lionfish are a nonnative, invasive species that have a negative impact on Florida's native wildlife and habitat. Consistent lionfish removal can reduce the negative impacts lionfish have on the reef community.

The FWC has several activities planned for the weekend of the first annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, which is May 16. On the 16th and 17th, divers across the state will be encouraged to see how many lionfish can be removed from Florida waters in one weekend. Divers are asked to report their catches via the Report Florida Lionfish app or online at MyFWC.com/Lionfish.

To supplement this effort, several local sponsors across the state are scheduling lionfish derbies in conjunction with the weekend. A festival and derby will be hosted by the FWC, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition in Pensacola.

The FWC is also excited to roll out its new Reef Rangers Lionfish Control Program the weekend of May 16 and 17, asking members of the public to select a reef and pledge to remove lionfish from that area several times a year.

To learn more about lionfish, including upcoming events and how to fillet your catch so you can enjoy it for dinner, visit MyFWC.com/Lionfish.

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