Massive Lionfish Speared In Florida Keys, Sets Weight Record For Lionfish In Atlantic Ocean

By  //  August 14, 2018

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weighed 3.10-pounds

A 3.10-pound lionfish was harvested in the Keys recently, setting the weight record for the heaviest lionfish caught in the Atlantic Ocean. (Timothy Blasko Image)

FLORIDA KEYS, FLORIDA – A 3.10-pound lionfish was harvested in the Keys recently, setting the weight record for the heaviest lionfish caught in the Atlantic Ocean.

“Congrats to Timothy Blasko for spearing this large invader,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife in a statement.

Lionfish are an invasive species that have a potential negative impact on native wildlife and habitat. FWC has been encouraging divers, anglers and commercial harvesters to remove lionfish in Florida waters to limit negative impacts to native marine life and ecosystems.

Native to the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea, lionfish can be found year-round in Florida waters and from North Carolina to South America, including the Gulf of Mexico.

They can be found in almost all estuarine and marine habitat types and have been found in waters up to 1,000 feet deep.

Rarely caught on hook-and-line, the most effective methods of removal are spearing and using a hand-held net. Care should be taken when spear fishing so that the spears do not impact and damage reefs.

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Lionfish are also caught as bycatch in the commercial lobster and stone crab trap industry.  There is evidence that lionfish are not actually getting stuck in traps but can come and go as they please, only being harvested when they happen to be inside the trap as it is being pulled up.

The practice of feeding lionfish to other predatory species while diving should be avoided because it is dangerous and illegal. It is also proven to not be effective.

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