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Lionfish Challenge underway in Florida

Posted: 7:59 PM, May 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-20 11:58:29-04

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Saturday marks the kickoff for the Lionfish Challenge in Florida. The annual statewide event hosted by FWC is designed to raise awareness about the invasive species.

According to NOAA researchers the non-native fish continues to proliferate throughout the Atlantic Ocean and it’s raising concerns for native marine life.

“They have little to no natural predators in the area and so as a result we try and help out removing them from their nonnative ecosystems,” said Force-E Scuba Center employee Joshua Patton.

Patton is an avid diver. He works just down the street from the Blue Heron Bridge where divers meet throughout the year to remove Lionfish.

“What’s really important is to just keep our native ecosystem going you want to keep them out of here because like I said they have poisonous barbs, and you don’t want them to become really prolific because then they will come in closer to shore for food sources and you don’t want kids on the beach and things like that getting stung it’s very unpleasant,” said Patton.

FWC is offering cash prizes and other incentives to those who remove 25 or more lion fish.

An FWC spokesperson said last year more than 28,000 were removed statewide and they are hoping with your help to increase that number during the 2019 challenge.

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