For local scuba divers and spearfishermen (“spearos”), capturing lionfish during recreational scuba dives and weekend free-dive fishing jaunts is a regular activity, and helps preserve Florida Keys habitats and eco-systems.

Lionfish generally sit motionless with undulating pectoral fins. Highly recognizable by their red and white stripes, they are surprisingly slow, almost daring divers to spear or net them. Deep wrecks have been reported as being blanketed with the red-and-white feathery fish, with impressive lengths of 18 inches or longer.

Why do we want to wipe them from the reefs? Lionfish consume a variety of prey — invertebrates, juvenile grunts, hamlets, grouper and snapper — and can consume more than half their own body size. Their voracity has burgled both space and food resources from domestic species.

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