Check out these new #lionfish traps researchers are testing in the northern Gulf of Mexico!
Former Guy Harvey Scholar Holden Harris (UF IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station) has been working with Alex Fogg from the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners and Steve Gittings from the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to test a new a “non-containment” lionfish trap.
The design works to “bait” lionfish by offering a structure that attracts them. The trap remains open while deployed on the sea floor, allowing fish to move in and out of the trap footprint. When the trap is retrieved, a netting is pulled up around the fish inside and they are brought to the surface.
Now, with funding from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and help from DreadKnot Charters, the researchers are headed offshore to retrieve, redeploy, and collect data on 12 currently deployed traps. The study will try to answer important questions for a new method of catching lionfish: where and how can the traps be most effective? How long should they be deployed? And, is there any bycatch (accidental catch of other species)?
Recent trials have proved successful in attracting lionfish to the trap with minimal bycatch. Continued research will hone the trap
If successful in testing, lionfish traps may become permitted for use by commercial and recreational fisherman. The traps could become a key tool in our quest to control this invasive species and may even generate income while protecting the deepwater environment.
Learn more about the project in this blog post by Florida Sea Grant agent Laura Goodgame Tiu: http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/…/researchers-test-traps-for-con…/
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