Amanda Nalley

A lionfish.
Naomi Tamar / Unsplash

A record-setting nearly 30,000 lionfish were removed from Florida waters during the 2018 Lionfish Challenge. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced the winners of its annual challenge Thursday. The fish came from waters off eight Florida counties including Bay and Franklin.

Nikkie Cox found this tagged lionfish off Franklin County. Photo courtesy of Nikkie Cox.
Nikkie Cox

There are a few weeks left to go in the state’s Lionfish Challenge. That’s an effort to rid Florida waters of the invasive species that has no natural predators and has a negative impact on wildlife.

Someone giving an oral presentation during the 2013 Lionfish Summit hosted by FWC in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Tim Donovan / FWC Flickr

Florida’s wildlife agency will be holding a lionfish summit in the Fall. The goal is to find more ways to get rid of the spiny invasive species plaguing state waters.

A lionfish in Florida Bay
Robert Ellis / FWC Flickr

From “smart traps” to underwater drones, Florida’s wildlife agency hopes five organizations will spend thousands of dollars in grant funding to find new ways to further target lionfish. The spiny invasive species eat fish native to Florida, have no natural predators, and can lay thousands of eggs over a short period of time.

A stack of lionfish from 2018 Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day
Bekah Nelson / FWC's Flickr

The Lionfish Challenge is underway, and it’s one of several efforts to rid Florida of the invasive species that has no natural predators and negatively impacts wildlife.

scallops
FWC FWRI's Flickr

The Gulf County bay scallop season is now open to harvesters, after state wildlife officials postponed the season for about two months.

Tim Donovan / FWC's Flickr

Starting Thursday, blue crab harvesters can no longer have their traps in North Florida waters. The goal is for Florida wildlife officials to use that 10-day period to get rid of lost and abandoned blue crab traps, which can have a negative impact on the environment and boaters.

FWC FWRI's Flickr

As sort of a pilot, state wildlife officials are holding three different bay scallop seasons in the Florida Panhandle. While one starts Saturday, another is already underway.

scallops
FWC FWRI's Flickr

Despite a harmful algal bloom in 2015, Florida wildlife officials say the bay scallop population in Saint Joe Bay appears to be improving.

Tim Donovan / FWC's Flickr

This Saturday is not only Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, it’s also the kick off for Florida’s Lionfish Challenge—an incentive program to encourage people to remove the nonnative species. State wildlife officials are doing a bit of a revamp this year.

Alicia Wellman / FWC's Flickr

Florida wildlife officials are their latest lionfish removal effort as a great success.

FWC

Florida wildlife officials are continuing to look into new ways to help target an invasive species plaguing state waterways. They’ve started the lionfish state records program.

FWC's Flickr

Thursday marked the start of stone crab claw harvest season for recreational and commercial use in state and federal waters.

reefrangers.com

Florida wildlife officials want more people to sign up for their “Reef Rangers” program. It builds on the ongoing efforts to remove the invasive lionfish species from state waters.