Lionfish Summit Draws Large Crowd in Cocoa Beach
By Matt O'Hern // October 24, 2013
Lionfish Destroying Reef Life Throughout Atlantic
ABOVE VIDEO: FWC Spokesperson Amanda Nalley describes the 2013 Lionfish Summit in Cocoa Beach.
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA — In an effort to determine research and management gaps and to bring together leaders in the lionfish issue, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) hosted Lionfish Summit Oct. 22-24 at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront hotel in Cocoa Beach.
Hundreds of local fishermen, conservationists and sportsmen gathered for the three-day summit sponsored by the Guy Harvey Foundation, the Wildlife Foundation of Florida and Florida Sea Grant.
Native to the Indo-Pacific region, lionfish were first spotted in Florida waters in the mid-1980s. In recent years, their numbers have increased dramatically and their population has spread throughout the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and up the Atlantic coast of the United States. Recent research indicates they have a negative impact on our native species and habitats. Lionfish have no natural predators in our waters, and they eat and compete for food with native species, including economically important species such as snapper and grouper. Currently, the best method of control is human removal via dip-net or spear.