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FWC: Fish away for invasive lionfish

Lionfish, originally from the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, are an invasive species in the Gulf of Mexico. [LARA CERRI  |  Times]

Lionfish, originally from the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, are an invasive species in the Gulf of Mexico. [LARA CERRI | Times]

Times staff

What could be better than fishing and helping save the Gulf of Mexico?

Add prizes.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Lionfish Challenge runs through Sept. 4. It's a way to coax locals and pros to fish for the spiney, invasive species, which has come from the South Pacific and Indian Ocean to overtake Gulf waters.

It only takes 25 of caught lionfish for hobbyists to enter the competition, or 25 pounds for commercial fisherman. The more fish you catch, the more prizes you'll receive, the FWC said.

READ MORE:Whole Foods wants you to eat lionfish into submission

Prizes include T-shirts, tumblers, heat packs, pole spears and an opportunity to catch an extra spiny lobster per day during the two-day sport season. Plus all participants are entered into a raffle to win other prizes.

Already more than 5,000 fish have been caught since the beginning of the competition, which started May 20, Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, according to the FWC.

The person who catches the most lionfish by the end of the competition will be crowned the Lionfish King or Queen at the Lionfish Safari tournament in St. Petersburg the weekend of Sept. 9. Officials also will be crowning a commercial champion.

To enter, visit MyFWC.com/Lionfish.

FWC: Fish away for invasive lionfish 07/24/17 [Last modified: Monday, July 24, 2017 6:07pm]
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