How Ever You Can Help
The only way to protect and save our reefs from the invasive lionfish is for people to go out and remove them one by one. However, everyone can help in their own way – from donating your time, equipment or financially we can all help make a difference. Here are many ways to help
Ways You Can Help Fight Against Invasive Lionfish
Everyone can and should do their part to help fight against invasive lionfish in our waters. Lionfish Central is here to help! The only way to save our reefs and and waters from the spread of lionfish is to remove and reduce them one by one. However, you can become a true superhero by becoming involved in any way that you can. Here are some ways that you can assist in the fight against lionfish:
Share Information About Lionfish
There are many individuals, even those living in coastal areas, who are not aware of the lionfish epidemic. This is concerning given the problems and impacts associated with lionfish that have far reaching and grave implications. Increasing awareness about lionfish is critical and it is easy for you to help spread this information. Share facts with your friends and family about invasive lionfish on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. By posting information about lionfish and available resources, you can create awareness within your own networks that can spread to other networks. Social media platforms can also be used to ask for donations or to encourage individuals to attend local lionfish events.
Make a Donation to a Lionfish Organization
There is no donation too small to make a difference in the fight against invasive lionfish. Donations both big and small make a difference in supporting the efforts of organizations committed to the eradication and removal of lionfish populations. The efforts being made to curb lionfish populations impact us all, and it is important to take action. By making a donation, you can continue to help make a difference. Organizations rely on the support of donors like you to ensure that critical work can continue to protect our water from the invasive lionfish. Consider making a donation of any amount to continue expanding efforts in controlling the lionfish population!
Hold a Fundraiser
A fundraising event is a great way to cultivate support and attract awareness about the lionfish epidemic. If you are interested in holding a fundraiser, Lionfish Central can help guide you!
Pamphlets are an effective way to spread information about invasive lionfish in your community. Posting leaflets in targeted areas like local seafood restaurants and dive shops is a great and inexpensive way to spread important facts about lionfish and ways that individuals can help fight back. Easy to read and visually stimulating pamphlets will attract attention and get more people interested in becoming involved in the fight against lionfish. Ask your local seafood restaurant if they would allow you to provide a children’s coloring place mat or other printed material such as a children’s menu containing information about lionfish. Educating our youth about invasive species like lionfish and creating an awareness about the problems we will face in the future will create awareness and get younger generations involved in efforts to tame lionfish populations. Lionfish Central can provide you with pamphlets and other printed materials to help spread the word in your community.
Learn How to Hunt Lionfish
There is no better way to help fight against invasive lionfish than to hunt them yourself! It is strongly recommended that individuals who are interested in lionfish hunting learn how to do so through a certified instructor. Typical lionfish hunting certification courses require new hunters to learn the history and anatomy of lionfish, personal safety and first aid, environmental concerns, equipment and maintenance, hunting techniques, local regulations and considerations, safe lionfish handling, and preparing and eating lionfish. New hunters practice using a spear underwater to improve their aim and accuracy. Typically, training hunters are guided on their first lionfish hunt using the techniques they are taught. Most courses take about 4 hours to complete depending on dive conditions and location. Likewise, most courses require certification as open water scuba divers if they are training on scuba. By learning how to hunt lionfish, you can have a direct impact on controlling lionfish populations.
Go Collect Lionfish!
Help remove and reduce lionfish by collecting them from your local waters! There is no permit required to remove lionfish from waters where fishing is normally allowed. However, it is advisable to check existing state and federal fishing regulations. A Florida saltwater fishing license is not required for harvesting lionfish from Florida waters if using hand nets, pole spears, Hawaiian slings, or other spearing devices created and marketed for lionfish collection. Additionally, there is no recreational or commercial limit on the number of lionfish an individual can collect from Florida. Collecting lionfish is fun and immensely beneficial.
Attend Workshops to Remove Lionfish from Sanctuary Preservation Areas
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages individuals to remove lionfish from state waters to reduce the impact on native fish and wildlife. In fact, Florida created a agency-wide internal lionfish control team to evaluate management options for addressing the control of lionfish within its waters. Florida state parks and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) created permitting workshops intended for professionals and avid divers interested in obtaining a permit to collect lionfish in sanctuary preservation areas. Workshop topics include background of the invasion, lionfish biology, ecological impacts, current research findings, as well as collecting and handling tools and tips. After each workshop, participants have the opportunity to obtain a FKNMS lionfish collecting permit that allows the harvest of lionfish in sanctuary preservation areas, which are otherwise no-fishing and no-take zones. If you are interested in attending one of these workshops, click on the link below to learn more.
Download the Report Florida Lionfish Smartphone App
Did you ever come across a lionfish and didn’t know what to do? There’s an app for that! The Report Florida Lionfish App was created by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to help research where lionfish are spreading, how fast, and how many are being killed. Users of the app can take pictures of their lionfish catches, which may be used in publications or social media efforts. The FWC uses the data collected from the app to help identify sites where targeted lionfish removal might be most beneficial. This information is shared with the public as well as other groups and agencies collecting similar information. There is a data reporting form which is easily accessible on the app allowing divers and fisherman to share information about their sighting or catch with the FWC. Additionally, the application also includes helpful educational information about lionfish, including safe handling guidelines. Downloading the app and sharing information is an easy way to help tame the lionfish invasion.
Lionfish hunters require a significant amount of gear and equipment to effectively and safely hunt for lionfish. Consider donating equipment like spears, pole spears and Hawaiian slings routinely used by lionfish hunters. Brave lionfish hunters also need containment devices to hold the lionfish after its been speared. Consider donating containers, catch bags and spear shafts used by hunters for this purpose. Moreover, lionfish hunters always need cameras and measuring devices to track and record their sightings and catches. There is also miscellaneous safety equipment that is helpful to lionfish hunters during the hunt or while handling lionfish. Puncture-resistant gloves, barbecue tongs, and stainless steel shears are just a few donations that could greatly help lionfish hunters have a successful and safe hunt. Lionfish Central can help facilitate these donations and get them into the hands of individuals and organizations who are doing their part to help the environment.
Donate Your Time
Even if you are unsure about hunting lionfish yourself, you can still donate your time to organizations committed to minimizing the impact of lionfish. Lionfish Central can guide you and set you up with a local organization, or even find ways for you to help us. There are countless ways that you can donate your time including volunteering at a lionfish derby or collecting monetary or equipment donations for lionfish hunters. Lionfish Central is always looking for new, creative ways to spread information and increase public awareness about lionfish and your time and effort is greatly appreciated.
Visit Local Dive Shops and Restaurants
By visiting local dive shops and restaurants you can increase support for lionfish control in your area. Local dive shops are a great place to promote safe and ethical lionfish hunting programs, courses and tours to a targeted audience. Restaurants in your area may also be interested in collaborating with local hunters to create a broader market for lionfish. Most local seafood restaurants aim to serve fresh-from-local-waters fish, but because of the way that lionfish are caught, not all restaurants have them on hand or even on the menu. You can create a demand for lionfish by asking for it at your favorite local seafood restaurant and eating it when it is on the menu. In short, increasing the demand for lionfish in restaurants and grocery stores will create a greater demand for lionfish hunters and help efforts to reduce populations in local waters.