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The Lionfish Tournament is Over… What Now?

The recent Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day was a big success.  8,089 lionfish were removed over that weekend and over 6000 visitors are now more aware of the issue this invasive fish is causing in our waters.  But did it help?  Did this tournament make a large dent in the local population?

Controlling the population of Lionfish in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Photo: Robert Turpin

Controlling the population of Lionfish in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Photo: Robert Turpin

Honestly, we are not sure – no one knows the population of lionfish in the Gulf.  What we do know is that tournaments, such as the LRAD, do have a significant impact on local populations.  But we also know that the fish that remain out there breed every 2-4 days.  So what now?

 

What you do now is continue to ask for either lionfish, or smoked lionfish dip, at your local restaurants.  If there is a demand we should be able to keep our divers collecting.

if you are a diver, check out a charter that is going out to remove them.  Several local charters offer trips specifically to remove lionfish.

Participate in, or support, one of the numerous fishing tournaments with lionfish categories this summer.

We are never going to rid of lionfish in our waters, but with continued pressure we should be able to keep them from overtaking the system.  We have to think about it as we would weeds in our yard.  Yes… pulling weeds this weekend does not mean that I will never have to weed again, but we all know that not weeding would be very problematic for the lawn.

Thanks to everyone who came and supported the 2016 LRAD.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://escambia.ifas.ufl.edu/blog/2016/05/27/the-lionfish-tournament-is-over-what-now/