Portofino Diver Academy Hosts First Annual Lionfish Hunt, South Florida

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Lionfish are a known invasive species which harm reefs and native fish populations in Florida waters.

Portofino Diver Academy, a local diving academy and shop which organizes tours of the best diving sites in South Florida as well as family snorkeling and free diving excursions, is helping raise awareness of the widespread invasion of lionfish, a non-native predator known for its venomous spines and increased numbers in the waters of Florida, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

On December 11, 2016, Portofino Diver Academy, along with the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, hosts the 1st Annual Lion Fish Hunt- an all-day event where divers use spears and nets to collect as many lionfish as possible. The event ends with a lion fish cookout and cocktail party to celebrate the hunt.

Lionfish have officially become the first outsider finfish in US waters. With no natural enemies, these “scorpionfish” will eat almost anything, including valuable species like red porgy, vermilion snapper, Nassau grouper and fish that consume algae off reefs. They are causing the death of many native species, reducing native fish populations by up to 80% in areas of lionfish infestation. This threat extends from the marine environment to the economy as recreational saltwater fishing on Florida's east coast "generated 29,000 jobs and $3.3 billion in sales" in 2011 alone, according to NOAA.

Join REEF and Portofino Diver Academy; help save the South Florida waters!

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Patricia Andrade
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