ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A Volusia County man has been crowned as Lionfish King after personally removing over 3,000 of the invasive fish from state waters.
David Garrett caught 3,324 lionfish during the state's 4 and a half month-long Lionfish Challenge.
Florida Fish and Wildlife reports that 16,609 lionfish were killed during the challenge, and 111,000 in total have been removed this year.
“This far exceeds our initial goal of 25,000 lionfish removed between May 2016 and May 2017 and we look forward to seeing what we can do to continue our battle against the invasive lionfish population,” said FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski. .
“Every lionfish removed is a benefit to the native fish and ecosystem,” said Garrett, a Professional Association of Diving Instructors scuba instructor and retired Army major who also sells a lot of his catch commercially and runs a nonprofit lionfish removal organization.
He will be featured on the cover of the January 2017 Saltwater Regulations Publication and will also receive a lifetime saltwater fishing license for his efforts.
To learn more about how to participate in these and other programs, visit MyFWC.com/lionfish.