Petition Tag - lionfish population control

1. Support Lionfish Population Control and the Search for Eradication Methods

Why Aggressive year round control is Critical:

• Lionfish have NO Natural Predators in U.S.
• Can live up to 15 years
• Reach sexual Maturity at 1 year
• Release up to 30,000 eggs every 2-4 days (2 Million per year, or more!)
• Consume our native fish at unsustainable rates
• A single mature lionfish can eat 65 of our native fish in a single feeding!
• Can eat prey exceeding ½ their own body length
• Ambush predators- Very RARE for them to bite a fishing hook

Goal of this Pilot Program Proposal:

Provide indisputable proof that this is a viable and financially sustainable, aggressive, year-round lionfish population control program that can easily be duplicated in other states and countries.

Removal Goal: 2 years or less: remove 25,000 lionfish from the Florida Panhandle to reduce the breeding stock, and begin the process of saving our native fishery from the unsustainable predation of the voracious lionfish.

Results of Removing 25,000 lionfish:

This would remove approx. 25 BILLION eggs that will not be sexually mature 1 year later, preventing up to 25 quadrillion eggs from being released the year following the removal of 25,000 lionfish. (12.5 Billion female LF x 2 million eggs each = 25,000,000,000000,000) Scientists doing genetic studies have shown that between 6-8 lionfish are responsible for the entire invasion that now threatens this entire hemisphere. The reproductive capability and the failure to implement aggressive population control measures early, is what allowed lionfish to become the most successful saltwater marine invader, in recorded history.

How would this proposal work?

• 2 yr. Pilot proposal is for 6 Florida Panhandle Counties from Escambia Co. – Gulf Co.
• The Emerald Coast Reef Association and volunteers would run the program for 2
years, costing the taxpayers nothing except the cost of the FWC provided tags .
• Divers would, at their own risk and expense, kill 100 lionfish and turn the heads
into a counting location
• In exchange for the 100 LF heads, the diver would receive 10 native fish tags, good
in-or-out of season
• Tags would be issued as follows: 2 Triggerfish, 2 Greater Amberjack, 2 Red Snapper,
2 Red Grouper and 2 Gag Grouper. (By giving multiple species tags, we reduce
pressure on any single native fish species.)
species.)
• Tags would be good in State water only
• Diver must have a valid FL saltwater fishing license to use the earned tags
• No limit to the number of tags that can be earned
Every 100 lionfish heads = 10 tags, 2 each of 5 listed species
• Only 2 tags of any single species may be used per day but you can take 2 each of
multiple species in a single day. In season, allowed to take 2 extra fish with tags.

Thank you for your time to read our proposal and for your signature of support! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact ECRA at admin@ecreef.org