Help protect our ocean against invasive species.
Lionfish are an Indo-Pacific fish invasive to Florida waters. They eat everything, live everywhere, and have no natural predators, making them a very bad guy to have around. Because we dive so often, we thought we could help to make a dent in the population and protect our natural reefs.
Who in the club can go Lionfishing?
- Members who have attended a REEF lionfish workshop or Biscayne National Park lionfish workshop
- Members who have been certified by a club officer to have proficient dive skills, good buoyancy, and are competent at using a pole spear.
- Members who have been awarded a “UM SCUBA Lionfish membership card”
What’s the procedure on each dive?
On club dives allowing lionfishing, we have a limit of four spears (total of 8 people or 4 buddy teams).
For each buddy team spearing, one person will be assigned a zookeeper (a container that holds already-speared fish). Why? To reduce the risk of people spearing each other and make it easier to safely store the fish.
All lionfishing must be done under the supervsion of a club officer.
What equipment is provided by the club?
- Gloves (relatively heavy duty)
- Cooler (for transport on boat)
Guidelines for hunting:
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Make sure you are not pointing the spear at any other divers.
- Do not cause damage to any coral that you may hit in the process of spearing the lionfish. Work with the best angle.
- Be aware of the wildlife around, including sharks which may be attracted by a kill.
- DO NOT keep the spear loaded all the time.
- Only load the spear when you are ready to shoot.
- When possible, aim the spear tip at the head of the fish. Once alerted of a threat, the lionfish will try to swim forward.
- Be conscious of your buoyancy and your breathing (continue breathing deeply and slowly, you are still on SCUBA gear!)
- Do not remove the spines of the lion fish on the boat -- wait until you get back to solid ground.
You may NOT spearfish as described below (FL rules, sorry!):
- Spearfishing of marine and freshwater species in freshwater is prohibited. Possession of a spear gun in or on freshwater is also prohibited.
- Within 100 yards of a public swimming beach, any commercial or public fishing pier, or any part of a bridge from which public fishing is allowed.
- Within 100 feet of any part of a jetty that is above the surface of the sea - except for the last 500 yards of a jetty that extends more than 1,500 yards from the shoreline.
- In Monroe County from Long Key north to the Dade County line.
- For any fish for which spearing is expressly prohibited by law (listed above).
- In any body of water under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection, Recreation and Parks. (Possession of spearfishing equipment is prohibited in these areas, unless it is unloaded and properly stored.)
- Fishermen who catch and/or sell fish harvested by spearing are subject to the same rules and limitations that other anglers in the state are required to follow.
More regulations can be found at http://www.myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/spearing/