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Cash in on lionfish catch

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Divers and anglers are invited to sign up for the 2018 Lionfish Challenge for a chance to win up to $5,000 while helping rid Florida’s waters of the invasive lionfish.

The competition starts today. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission urges divers and anglers to register at MyFWC.com/Lionfish. Registered participants will have through Labor Day, Sept. 3, to enter catches via photo or by submitting tails to checkpoints at select dive shops and FWC offices.

Those who harvest FWC-tagged lionfish will receive a customized Lionfish Control Team long-sleeve performance fishing gear shirt. The first tagged lionfish that is removed from each of the 50 reefs will be eligible for monetary or product-based rewards.

Native to the Indo-Pacific and believed to have entered Florida waters from an aquarium release, lionfish are now established along the southeast coast of the U.S., Caribbean and across the Gulf of Mexico. Because of its venomous spines, the species has few predators and can negatively impact native fish and reef habitats.

In addition to the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, which donated $5,000 toward the effort, sponsors include the American Sportfishing Association, Yamaha, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Coastal Conservation Association of Florida, the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, Dive Rite, Narked Scuba and Lionator Pole Spears.

For more information, visit myfwc.com/lionfish.

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