Lionfish & Recreational Fishing

Throughout the southeastern United States lionfish are an invasive species.  These fish compete in terms of food and habitat with other native fish populations.  There is concern that these fish will decimate algae-eating and small fish populations beneficial to overall coral reef health.  The decline in reef health increases the risk of infection and disease among a variety of sport fish that depend on a healthy reef ecosystem.  Unfortunately in U.S. coastal waters, they have no known predators and females can release roughly two million eggs a year. These fish are voracious eaters who actively hunt ambushing their prey using their outstretched pectoral fins.

Though it is a mystery as to how they have invaded our waters, it is no mystery that they are a serious problem that must be addressed.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages divers and anglers to remove lionfish in Florida waters to limit negative impacts to native marine life and ecosystems. A recreational fishing license is not required for those targeting lionfish while using a pole spear, a Hawaiian Sling, a handheld net or any spearing device that is specifically designed and marketed exclusively for lionfish.  A recreational fishing license is required for all other methods of harvesting lionfish including hook and line.

Lionfish Challenge 2018

The FWC puts on an event running from May 19th to September 3rd statewide to bring about awareness and help to remove some of these fish. Cash and a number of other prizes are up for grabs to participants competing in the challenge. To learn more visit the Lionfish Challenge page on the FWC site at: http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/lionfish/challenge

Why Should I Log My Catch Data?

You’re wondering why you should log your catch data, right? Concerned about privacy? Don’t want your favorite fishing hole to become “unfishable?” None of that is reason to worry, or not log your data because we take great care with the information you provide us.

Your privacy is important, so you can choose whether or not the specific location of the catches are made public. If you do give permission for the location to be public, then it may show up on a map. If not, then the model simply uses the data you provide about the type of location.

Why We Need Your Log Data?

The reason we ask you to log your catches is so that our predictive model can then better help you and others. You see, the more accurate data the model has in it, the better the predictions become. We could simply have the model create forecasts based on existing information we already collected, but that’s not as good.

When the model is constantly getting new, accurate information, it is better able to predict what kind of catches can be achieved, and where. That’s where your logs come in. Each time you submit a log filled with accurate data about your catch, it enhances the predictive model. The model crunches the numbers on catches and their locations and then predicts the possibility for a similar future outcome. Logging more means potentially catching more, for everyone involved.