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Mote goes lionfishing

Mote Marine Laboratory's second annual Lionfish Derby aimed to reduce the invasive lionfish populations in the Gulf of Mexico.

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  • | 12:42 p.m. July 13, 2015
  • Longboat Key
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Divers and snorkelers caught 456 lionfish in the Gulf of Mexico at Mote Marine Laboratory’s second annual Lionfish Derby from July 10 to 12.

Eight teams of 27 divers and snorkelers from Sarasota, Venice, Tallahassee, Fort Pierce, Palmetto, Tampa, Vero Beach, Boca Raton and Dallas, Texas spent the weekend hoping catch as many of the invasive fish as possible.

Lionfish are venomous fish that pose a major threat to Florida marine life and ecosystems. They are predators to more than 70 species of fish and crustaceans and in some areas have reduced fish populations by up to 90 percent. The only controlling predator of the fish are humans.

“We all know that a lot of lionfish were removed during the event.” Lad Akins, director of special projects at Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), said in a press release. “Efforts like this, taking lionfish out of the water, have a huge impact. We know the lionfish will recolonize, but every lionfish that comes out of the water means less pressure on our native species.”



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