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Derbies Help Control Invasive Lionfish

KEY WEST, Florida Keys — There are 659 less Indo-Pacific red lionfish occupying the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The final in a series of three lionfish derbies was staged Saturday, Nov. 13, off the Lower Keys and divers captured 109 of the invasive species, adding to the totals of two previous contests staged in Key Largo in September and in Marathon in October.

During Saturday’s derby, Melbourne, Fla., residents Rob Pillus, Jeremy Norcross and Mike Dugan caught 25 lionfish to capture the contest’s top $1,000 prize.

Lionfish off the southeast U.S., Bahamas and in the Caribbean impact indigenous fish because they eat important juvenile reef species, such as grouper and snapper.

Posted in Sports

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