The Story behind Florida’s Efforts to Ban Lionfish Importation

Dr. Stephanie Green of Oregon State University documenting lionfish populations, impacts and effectiveness of removal efforts in the Bahamas. (Photo courtesy of REEF)

On 4 March, I blogged the basics regarding two identical bills introduced to the Florida Legislature that would ban the importation and aquaculture of lionfish.

As with most fisheries issues I cover, this situation is incredibly complex, and I’ve tried to present it from all sides in an online feature for CORAL Magazine. While there is no debate over the invasive nature of lionfish in Florida, there is quite a bit of debate about what should be done about it. While most stakeholders generally support the bills, many also feel they need to be “tweaked” while in committee to make sure they accomplish what stakeholders hope they will accomplish.

One of the most contentious issues is the issue surrounding whether only the two invasive species should be banned or whether all species in the genus should be banned. While the language of the bill supports the latter, many people I interviewed for the story support the former. As Lad Akins of REEF points out in the piece,

“Restricting [non invasive lionfish species] from import simply because they are related to the invasive species could cause unwarranted economic impacts to the trade. If we are going to restrict import of all Pteroids, then should we also look at other ornamental species or families in the trade that could cause harm and enact sweeping legislation? If restrictions based on potential harm are going be made,” concludes Akins, “then they should be made equitably across the board and with solid information.”

Read the whole story here.

About Ret Talbot

Ret Talbot is a freelance writer who covers fisheries at the intersection of science and sustainability. His work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Mongabay, Discover Magazine, Ocean Geographic and Coral Magazine. He lives on the coast of Maine with his wife, scientific illustrator Karen Talbot.
This entry was posted in Forida, Gulf of Mexico, Invasive Species, Legislation, Ornamental Fisheries, South America, Southeast Fisheries and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Story behind Florida’s Efforts to Ban Lionfish Importation

  1. Pingback: Lionfish Proposed Final Rules Set for Vote Today in Florida | Good Catch Blog

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