Last week, representatives from the Florida House and Senate took the first steps in banning the importation or aquaculture of invasive lionfish. Representative Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Senator Greg Evers (R- Pensacola) have filed HB 1069 and SB 1336 to address the devastation being caused by lionfish in Florida’s coastal waters. The bills will prohibit importation, aquaculture and sale of illegally imported lionfish and they authorized FWC to adopt a rule to that effect. By stopping importation into Florida, it is anticipated that current demand for lionfish will be supplied by removal of invasive lionfish rather than increased importation from their native range. These bills, developed in close consultation with REEF and the FWC, mark one of the first legislative efforts to combat the invaders and comes on the heels of the first ever FWC Lionfish Summit. Comments and suggestions can be directed to Representative Holly Raschein’s office (phone: 850-717-5120). The bill will be considered by the Legislature during the 2014 session, which runs March 4th-May 2nd. For more information on the bills visit www.myfloridahouse.gov or www.flsenate.gov.