A Group of Congress men in the Southern Sunshine State of Florida are trying to prevent the takeover of Gulf waters by the Florida Lionfish.
U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., brought out the “Finding Innovative Florida Lionfish Elimination Technologies (FILET) Act of 2016″ on Thursday with U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., as co-sponsors. The bill will set up grants for universities to find ways to combat lionfish.
Curbelo is making the case for why the bill is necessary.
Representative Curbelo pleaded his case for why this bill is necessary recently.
“For decades, coastal communities along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico have faced a growing ecological and economic threat from lionfish, an invasive species of marine animal,” Curbelo said.
Now most of you know that any invasive species can cause great problems for even a small ecosystem, this is not on a small scale though. This rivals the problem created by pythons released in Southern Florida over the last few decades. Pythons that are growing even big enough to threaten the population of the American Alligator in Florida.
Rep. Curbelo when on to say this;
“Florida Lionfish have no natural predators in our region and a single female lionfish can lay up to two million eggs per year. They’ve been known to consume up to 40 sportfish per day which has had devastating effects on the recreational fishing industry in South Florida. Lionfish also consume herbivores, which clean algae from our coral reefs. Without these herbivores, algae continues to grow, resulting in detrimental consequences to the health of our coral reefs.
In defense of the Florida Lionfish…. Actually it is really hard to get past that right there. I’m all for preserving wildlife, particularly marine life but I know this thing will be fine in other parts of the world where it’s meant to be.
“To address this major risk to South Florida’s marine fisheries, habitats, and eco-systems, I have introduced the ‘Finding Innovative Lionfish Elimination Technologies Act of 2016,’” Curbelo iterated.
According to what we know about this legislation, it will award grants competitively due to Universities with hopes that they can find ways to remove the Florida Lionfish from the Gulf waters. Now this may seem like a bad idea, and not at all “green” but in reality it is helping conserve our oceans how they were meant to be. Now of course there will be an argument against this, as well as a lot of arguments for this but time will be the telling factor for this decision, one way or the other.
“As a resident of Southwest Florida and as an avid diver who cherishes our natural resources I have first-hand knowledge that the lionfish in our waters are devastating,” Rep. Clawson said.
“The recreational collection of lionfish in Florida has contributed significantly to the reduction of our native fish population; a population that sustains our way of life in Florida. It is astounding to me that as a country; we are still importing thousands of these dangerous fish from Southeast Asia every year. This needs to stop immediately.”
He then went on to reiterate that the Lionfish are a major threat from Asian waters that may literally kill off all of the native fish to the Gulf Waters. Honestly I couldn’t agree more with the decision at this point and if there’s a natural point to this that we are not getting, I’m just not seeing it.
Jeff Barger, from the Ocean Conservancy, supported the bill in a rare show of unity between these two groups, insisting; “Florida Lionfish pose a clear and present threat; Due to healthy marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Curbelo’s bill is now sent over to and received by the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, and soon we will see what they do with it.
In July of last year Clawson introduced a proposal to impose a ban on the Lionfish imports to the United States. He was the one who brought together co-sponsors such as Curbelo for this Bill. He joined by Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Ander Crenshaw, Mario Diaz-Balart, David Jolly and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla. It’s odd to see Republicans and Democrats agree on anything these days, but given the threat this makes sense.
After being forwarded to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in July of last year, the bill was moved to the U.S. House Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee where it currently is being read over. With any luck, the bill should pass this year due to the push that has been placed on it. Again the consequences to doing this really can’t be foretold. We will just have to hope we’re doing the right thing, but looking at it now it does appear to be the right decision.