The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are set to vote on making it easier for people to hunt down and kill lionfish in Florida waters.
In case you weren't aware, lionfish are basically the ocean's biggest assholes. They're invasive, they eat everything, and nothing eats them. And they are spreading like crazy throughout Floridian waters.
UPDATE: The commission approves the draft rule:
-- MyFWC (@MyFWC) April 17, 2013
Lad Akins, director of special projects Reef Environmental Education Foundation, says that he's alarmed by the drop in fish population in the Bahamas, thanks to the lionfish devouring everything and anything that fits in their mouth.
The Bahama has lost 65 percent of their small prey fish, with the number of larger fish, like red snapper and grouper, decreased by more than 40 percent, according to a study.
Atkins feels the FWC vote is a "step in the right direction," but feels more needs to be done. Specifically, he'd like to see the FWC waive the license requirement for spearguns.
"It shouldn't matter if they are taken with a speargun, hook and line or pole spear," Akins said.
Lionfish, which are native to South Pacific and Indian Ocean are striped menaces. They first appeared in Florida waters back in 1985. Experts believe they may have been brought here in an aquarium and then set free.
The main thing is they eat pretty much whatever they can fit in their faces -- fish, plants, coral reefs. They breed like rabbits with fins and, because they're loaded with poisonous spikes, they're have no predators. Which means these bastards are free to roam Atlantic and Caribbean waters willy-nilly wrecking our ocean like Motley Crue in a hotel room.
Florida has tried to do everything it can to encourage people to hunt down the fish. Last week there was a lionfish competition in St. Petersburg than landed 30 of them.
Atkins himself has published a cookbook of lionfish recipes.
Lionfish are part of the scorpionfish family, have red, white, and black stripes, and have venomous spikes. Their venom isn't deadly (unless you're allergic to their venom), but they sting like a bitch.
If you do happen to get stung, the FWC says to immerse the wound in hot water or apply heat to the affected area for 30 to 90 minutes to help break down the toxin. You should seek medical attention as soon as you can. Don't ask a friend to pee on the wound (that's a myth). Unless you're into that kind of thing.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.