The invasive lionfish has no natural enemies off the East Coast of the US, making it a tricky creature to combat. Florida’s got a problem , and it’s spiny, sneaky, and hard to spook, even with diving lessons and serious scuba gear. The lionfish first made its way from the South Pacific to the Sunshine State in the 1980s as a popular aquarium pet. It now reigns terror up and down the salty reaches of the eastern United States and Bermuda , with some places hosting hundreds of individuals in a single acre . The species also has a voracious appetite and few known predators (the venomous appendages help), making it nearly impossible to beat back. Except for one grim option. “You really have to just kill them,” says Casey Benkwitt , a marine biologist at Lancaster University who’s studied the impacts of lionfish on coral habitats. Florida fishers have a wide range of options for hunting lionfish: a Hawaiian Sling, a handheld net, or any spearing device that is specifically designed and marketed exclusively for the species. A license also isn’t needed. Wildlife agencies have learned firsthand that the only way to tackle lionfish populations is by spearing […]


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