National Fisherman

In another move to reduce exploding populations of lionfish, divers in Florida state waters may soon be able to hunt the invasive species without a fishing license.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will vote Wednesday on a draft plan that would waive license requirement for taking lionfish, provided harvest is with a pole spear, Hawaiian sling or hand-held net.

Lad Akins, who oversees lionfish research and eradication programs for the Key Largo-base REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation), called the rule a "step in the right direction," but said the FWC should waive the license requirement for spearguns, too.

"It shouldn't matter if they are taken with a speargun, hook and line or pole spear," Akins said. "It's a step in the right direction anytime you allow people to take them that otherwise wouldn't."

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Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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