(FOX 13) - For years, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has rewarded harvesters of the invasive lionfish for their efforts to limit the spread of this damaging species.
This year, FWC has added an additional element to reward those who help the removal process with cash prizes.
FWC and Reef Rangers have tagged lionfish at 50 public artificial reefs between the depths of 80-120 feet. Any lionfish harvester who brings in one of these tagged lionfish can win up to $5,000, as well as a 4-foot JBL pole spear, Dive Rite surface marker tube, Lionator pole spear prize pack, Enriched Air Diver Class from Narked Scuba, and Color-Dive Lenses from Customatic Optics.
The Lionfish Challenge got underway in June, with 525 participants removing 6,596 lionfish, so far.
There’s still time to make a qualifying submission of 25 lionfish to receive a commemorative coin that allows you to take one extra spiny lobster per day during the two-day mini-season, July 25-26.
To learn more about and participate in the competition, register at myfwc.com/lionfish.