The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has agreed to waive the recreational license requirement for divers harvesting lionfish using certain gear and to exclude lionfish from the commercial and recreational bag limits, allowing people to take as many of the invasive fish as they can.
Prior to the change, recreational anglers could not catch more than 100 pounds of lionfish without being required to have a commercial license.
Specific gear includes hand-held nets, pole spears, Hawaiian slings or any other spearing devices designed and marketed exclusively for lionfish.
An identical executive order put into place last summer was set to expire Aug. 3. The new rule will take effect before then, so there will be no lapse in the expanded permissions.
Lionfish are a non-native, invasive species that negatively impact Florida’s native saltwater fish and wildlife.
Currently, the most effective method of removing lionfish from Florida waters is by spearing or using a hand-held net.