FWC Releases New App to Reduce Number of Invasive Lionfish

You know you're screwed when someone designs an app for the sole purpose of hastening your demise. Tough shake, lionfish, but you're just causing way too much trouble on Florida's reefs.

Lionfish first showed up in South Florida waters in 1985 and Florida's prized reefs have suffered greatly from the species' voracious appetite for native forage - a serious threat to indigenous gamefish like grouper and snapper.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been actively encouraging the harvest of lionfish -- spear fishermen take a few, but replacements are many. The FWC has had enough and really upped the ante with the May 28 release of its Report Lionfish app.

The app includes educational information on lionfish and safe handling guidelines -- they sport a bunch of venomous spines that'll send you to the hospital if poked -- as well as an easy-to-use data-reporting form so divers and anglers can share information about their sighting or harvest with the FWC. App users also can take and share a photo of their catch. These photos may be used in future publications or social media efforts.

All data will be available to the public and shared with other groups and agencies who collect this kind of information. Anglers lacking a smart device can submit lionfish capture data online at MyFWC.com/Fishing (click on "Saltwater," "Recreational Regulations" and "Lionfish.")

For more on the Report Lionfish app, visit MyFWC.com/Nonnatives (click on "Marine Life") and check out this video.