FWC announces winners of Lionfish Challenge

At its September meeting in Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced the winners of the 2018 Lionfish Challenge.

Lionfish is an exotic invasive species that is displacing local fish from waters off of Florida’s coast. Hunting competitions have been one of the only ways to curb their spread.

A total of 28,260 lionfish were removed from Florida waters as part of this year’s challenge, which included recreational and commercial categories as well as a new tagged-lionfish component, rewarding participants with prizes up to $5,000 for removal of FWC-tagged lionfish. Continue reading

APHIS Updates Regulated Areas in Miami-Dade County for Giant African Snail (Lissachatina fulica, formally Achatina fulica)

On May 1, 2017, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) removed giant African snail (GAS) regulated area Zone O from the list of quarantined areas in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Subsequently, on December 21, 2017, APHIS also removed areas Zone D, Zone Q, Zone R, and Zone U. APHIS and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) collaborated to develop the protocol for removing areas from quarantine. Under the protocol, FDACS and APHIS use the following criteria to deregulate a quarantined area/zone:

  • Surveillance and treatment efforts for 17 months with no detection of live GAS
  • An additional 19 months of surveillance with no detection of live GAS
  • A minimum of one negative detector dog survey
  • A minimum of one negative night survey, when snails can be more active

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Tsunami brings new sea creatures to America—from Japan

When a natural disaster strikes, the last thing that most people are worried about is what animal or plant species might be carried to another country. But those new species are just what scientists are discovering from a dock ripped away by the tsunami that hit the northern coast of Japan last year.

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