Free Lionfish Workshop at Divers Direct July 8th, Fort Lauderdale

June 30, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Posted in Conservation, Diving | 3 Comments
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Divers Direct Lionfish 101

Free Lionfish Workshop

Thursday, July 8, 2015 6:30PM

Our Friends at Divers Direct are hosting a workshop on hunting Lionfish.  Please enlist in the army of divers and diners to help combat this invasive challenge.  If you love the ocean we need your help.
Participants will get an informative briefing on methods of hunting and safe handling while our GearUp Experts share proper gear for safe collecting and handling.

Seating for this popular event is limited,  so call 954-925-7630 to RSVP or stop by Divers Direct Ft. Lauderdale today!

Go here for all the information!

Divers Direct

180 Gulf Stream Way
Dania Beach, FL 33004

00 GHO-Logo

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Keep Florida’s Net Ban!

June 2, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Posted in Conservation, Fishing, Florida, Florida Keys, Tampa, Tarpon | Leave a comment
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Follow the Will of the Voters – Keep the Net Limitation

On May 15, the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee heard yet another legal challenge to the Net Limitation placed into the State Constitution in 1994 by 72% of Florida’s voters. Following years of unsuccessful lawsuits, commercial fishermen again seek to overturn the limitation—this time as to the mesh size of the nets they are allowed to use in state waters. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was tasked with writing the rules to implement the constitutional change and that rule has withstood many challenges, and hopefully it will withstand this latest attempt. The Florida Wildlife Federation supports the Attorney General’s Office and the FWC in their efforts to defend the will of the people. The FWC is upholding the law, the constitution, and the conservation of coastal fisheries. The Net Limitation Amendment was originally proposed because Florida’s inshore gamefish and forage fish were rapidly declining due to the commercial fishing gear used in coastal waters. Following the restrictions, and twenty years without the outlawed nets, our coastal waters are now rebuilding an abundance of redfish, sea trout, and other popular game species, as well as smaller forage fish, and that helps the entire ecosystem. It also helps the state’s economy. Florida is advertised as the Fishing Capital of the World and the present net limitation ensures that it stays that way. We hope the court agrees.


The Florida Wildlife Federation is a nonprofit, conservation organization established in 1936. The Federation works for the sound management of our fish and wildlife resources and responsible outdoor recreation. For more information about the initiatives of the Florida Wildlife Federation, visit

Goliath Grouper, Grouper & Snapper Management Meeting Jan 7-9

December 27, 2013 at 9:06 am | Posted in Conservation, Fishing, Florida, Florida Keys, Marine Science, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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News Release
December 18, 2013
CONTACT: Kim Iverson
877/SAFMC-10 or 843.571.4366
Joint Meeting on South Florida Management Issues and the Goliath Grouper Joint Council Steering Committee Scheduled 

A joint committee of the Gulf and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils will meet January 7 – 9, 2014 in Key Largo, FL to discuss South Florida Management Issues. The meeting will be held at the Hilton Key Largo Resort and will begin on Tuesday, January 7th at 8:30 a.m., and conclude on Thursday, January 9th by 12 p.m.

Agenda items for the meeting of the Joint Council Committee on South Florida Management Issues include:

  • Presentation on the South Florida Issues workshops held in July/August 2013;
  • Overview of status and trends for South Florida species; and
  • Discussion of species specific management concerns and next steps for yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper, hogfish, mangrove snapper, shallow-water groupers, Nassau grouper, warsaw grouper, and speckled hind.

Additionally, the Ad Hoc Goliath Grouper Joint Council Committee and the Joint Council Committee On South Florida Management Issues will meet to review the last stock assessment for goliath grouper and to hear a presentation on the recent Goliath Grouper Stakeholder Workshops and survey. Other items on the agenda include the review of recommendations from the Ad Hoc Goliath Grouper Joint Science workshop and a review of ongoing goliath grouper research.

Meeting information including the full agenda can be found at:

Photo Courtesy of Capt. Randy Towe

Tips to Green Your Holidays

December 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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What is most important to you during the Holidays?   Family & Friends is the answer heard most often.  If we focus on Family & Friends we will likely have a fun and loving Holiday experience. It is also I time to think of others. In the spirit of generosity to our fellow man, here are some ideas on how you can “Green Your Holidays.” 

Remember all the stuff you throw away after unwrapping the gifts?  All that packaging is wasted material and wasted energy.  Of course, we try to recycle it but better if we can jump ahead a few steps by buying gifts with less packaging to start.  Here are some easy tips to help you GREEN your Holidays while having fun with Family & Friends: 

1)     Bring reusable shopping bags with you. 

2)    Consider buying reusable gift bags.  Many of these are made out of recycled materials.

3)    Homemade baked goods are a great alternative to nick-knacks.

4)    Use the Sunday comics to wrap presents for kids.  Plain newspaper with a re-used ribbon work great.  Old paper charts work well for the mariner in your family.  The 2013 calendar’s pretty pictures wrap small boxes well.

5)    Save those red ribbons, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

6)    Make sure that your Holiday cards & wrapping paper are made from post-consumer recycled content.

7)    A Fishing Charter, a Dive Trip, Concert, Museum or Sporting Tickets are great gifts for someone on your list.  There is next to no waste and not a lot of wrapping required AND they have the added benefit of time shared together.

8)   Buy a live tree and plant if after the Holidays.  Your family will always remember that tree.  Note: if you live above the frost line make sure to dig the hole while the ground is soft.

9)    Turn off your Holiday lights before you go to bed.  Upgrade to LEDs when replacing lights.

10)  If you are leaving town for the Holidays, turn off your water heater and lower your thermostat to save on heating costs.

AFTER the Holidays

1)    Recycle all that paper and cardboard.

2)    Cancel any catalogs you do not want to receive.

3)    Check with local waste managers to dispose of your tree so that it can be mulched rather than sent to the landfill.  Avoid plastic tinsel as it can not be mulched.

Christmas Sailfish courtesy of David Cartee Photography.

Save the Billfish, Stop Longlining

December 9, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Keep the Longlines Out of the Current Closed Zones!

The closed areas along Florida’s East Coast (FEC) and the DeSoto Canyons in the Gulf of Mexico were established to reduce the bycatch and discards of juvenile swordfish, billfish and other marine life. The benefits of these longline closed zones have been instrumental for the recreational fishing community with great numbers of billfish and swordfish caught in recent years. NMFS is proposing to allow access for longline vessels into these closed zones and must be stopped! If NMFS allows longline fishing in these areas, it could not only have large ecological impacts but tremendous socio-economic impacts on the sportfishing community.

The Longline Closure Established in 2000 Have Resulted in a Beneficial Reduction of Billfish Bycatch

  • Between 2001 and 2003, the years immediately after the longline closures were established, a 49.7% reduction in blue marlin bycatch, a 47.0% reduction in white marlin bycatch, and a 74.6% reduction in bycatch of sailfish resulted compared to the years preceding the longline closures.
  • Between 2005 and 2011, blue marlin, white marlin, and sailfish bycatch reduced by 61.6%, 59.8%, and 66.9%, respectively compared to when longlining was permitted

Stop Longlining, Take Action NOW!


Support New Gear Restricted Areas (GRA) in the Gulf of Mexico

NMFS is proposing the use of Gear Restricted Areas (GRAs) in the Gulf of Mexico which would prohibit the use of longlines, but still allow the use of alternative gear like buoy gear or greenstick gear. The most favorable of the proposed alternatives, a 3-month Gulf of Mexico Closure (March-May), would reduce for bluefin harvested by 12% and a reduce the discards of bluefin tuna by 10%. Billfish will also benefit in the Gulf of Mexico with a 3-month GRA and is estimated to reduce bycatch of blue marlin, white marlin, and sailfish by 8%, 4%, and 10% respectively. A 3-month Gulf of Mexico GRA would also result in an additional 12% reduction of under-sized swordfish discards.

TBF’s Suggestion for Gulf of Mexico GRAs

To further increase the conservation benefits associated with the Gear Restricted Areas (GRA) in the Gulf of Mexico, TBF suggests a 4-month Gulf of Mexico GRA (March-June). If implemented, a further reduction of reduce the bluefin tuna bycatch and discards as well as double the conservation benefits for blue marlin, white marlin, and sailfish.

Stop Longlining, Take Action NOW!


Help Save Bluefin Tuna

October 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Conservation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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IGFA Call to Action

Please take 30 seconds to sign this petition today and help end the waste of bluefin tuna in the U.S. and ensure that surface longlingers, not recreational fishermen, are held accountable for incidental bycatch.Sign Today!

Surface longlines kill thousands of hard-fighting game fish, including white marlin, sailfish, and bluefin tuna. In 2012, the fishery threw back dead nearly 25% of the U.S. bluefin quota. Please join us in calling on NOAA Fisheries to implement strong measures that will protect spawning bluefin in the Gulf of Mexico and reduce unwanted catch off North Carolina, hold surface longliners accountable for bluefin bycatch, maintain current bluefin quota allocations, and promote increased fishing opportunities for recreational anglers.

It takes less than a minute to sign on your support and help protect this iconic species. Want to make a bigger impact? Check the box to share your signature on Facebook and help us reach 25,000 supporters today!

The International Game Fish Association
300 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach, Florida, 33004 USA | 954-927-2628 |


DISPATCH FROM THE FIELD, PART II: Lionfish 101, Lessons for Novice Lionfish Hunters

July 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Posted in Bahamas, Conservation, Green Turtle Club, Guy Harvey Outpost Ltd., Lionfish, Marine Science | Leave a comment
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This is Part II of a 3-part report by Capt. Ned Stone, Director of Programs for Guy Harvey Outpost, following his participation in the Green Turtle Club’s 5th Annual Lionfish Derby. Read Part I here.

Following Derby registration Lad Akins of Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)  gave an excellent presentation on the Lionfish invasion and some words of wisdom for the divers.

The Lionfish invasion is well known.  What to do about it is not.  One of the actions REEF has devised is a series of Lionfish Derbies.  Designed to raise awareness and to remove as many Lionfish from a given area as possible these events are fun and social as well.  REEF conducts population studies before and after the Derbies and five years in the Derbies appear to be affecting local populations as the size of the average fish caught is trending smaller.  Let’s be clear here; these are barely control mechanisms and NOT eradication.

Lionfish spines along their backs, lower jaw & ventral (belly) have poisonous venom.  The venom is not fatal unless you have an allergic reaction.  It is however extremely painful.  Do your research so that you are sufficiently knowledgable before you start hunting. is a great resource for information.

Avoid handling lionfish un-necessarily.  Invest in good gloves.  Medical waste “sharps resistant” gloves are ideal.  Hex Armour, Sharpsmasters II for example.  Follow REEF’s recommendation for handling Lionfish.  If you are snorkling you can exchange spears with a pal in the boat.  Your team mate can use the lid and side of the cooler to remove the Lionfish from the spear without ever coming near the spines.

DISPATCH FROM THE FIELD: 5th Annual Lionfish Derby, Green Turtle Club, Abaco, Bahamas

July 4, 2013 at 12:05 am | Posted in Abaco, Bahamas, Conservation, Green Turtle Club, Guy Harvey, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Guy Harvey Outpost Ltd., Lionfish | 1 Comment
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GTC 5th Annual Lionfish Derby

This is Part I of a 3-part report by Capt. Ned Stone, Director of Programs for Guy Harvey Outpost, following his participation in the Green Turtle Club’s 5th Annual Lionfish Derby.

Filed by Capt. Ned Stone

Guy Harvey Outpost HQ, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

July 3, 2013

I caught the 12:30pm Lauderdale flight to Treasure Cay.  Grabbed my bag at gate check and was through immigration and customs in 10 minutes.  A couple of ladies asked me how to get to Green Turtle.  I said “Come on, let’s go.”  We piled into the second van in line and before the taxi’s air-conditioning had fully engaged we were unloading at the ferry dock.  The ferry arrived shortly and our bags were stowed before we could say “Thank you.”  We dropped some folks in town and a couple others along the way but were checked in at the Club in time for a grilled Mahi sandwich before 3 o’clock.

The Rum Punch, last year’s International Winners invited me to join their team. Boat name aside these guys were serious.   I was on the dock at 0525 and we were underway at 0545.  With an hour’s run north we were in the water by 7am.  We spread out along the lee shore of Allen’s Cay and started the hunt.  I had been assigned a pink mask and a pink pole spear.  I needed to kill something quick to re-claim my “Man Card.”  I saw lots of juvenile Nassau Grouper, a big octopus, a couple of lobster and plenty of snapper but no lionfish on the reef.

Jenna, our ever ready driver repositioned us down current. Val got one right off the bat. George got one too; so things were looking up.  Well sort of, I was filled with conflicting emotions.  When we can’t find them, that IS a good thing, right?  But charged with testosterone and on a mission; I needed to score.  In a Derby you really do keep score.  A hundred yards later I spied the enemy.  There were two proud sentinels guarding their fort.  My blood pressure jumped.  I grabbed my nose, dove, pulled my pole spear back and let fly.  A single spine of my paralizer had him; my shot was a bit high and left; a little too eager.   I pulled back to get his comrade before he could get away.  This time I took an extra second and lined up – center mass.  Got him!  But the thrust shook the first guy free and he was gone deep in the reef.

Further along I spied a small lionfish.  I lined him in my sights, and pulled the trigger.  He was just too small.  He got pinned to the reef with holes in him but when I pulled the spear back all those feathers went to work squirting into the reef

Our catch count was holding at 5 fish.  We were running low on time and energy.  We stopped at Spanish Cay dock where the owner said “Killed three yesterday.  Take another look.”  Over I went and was just about done when I spied the enemy out on a dolphin pile.  I needed to make one more kill.  This time I got in close and lined up the spear just outside his fin tips and let her go.  Three divers, a blond helms-lady, and a lot of saltwater,  Six dead lionfish, priceless!

Fortunately we had lots of help from Bahamian and international teams; combined we captured a total of 1204 of the enemy.

IGFA Fish Release Recommendations: Part II – Landing & Hook Removal

December 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Posted in Conservation, Guy Harvey Outpost Ltd. | Leave a comment
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If you’re not going to photograph your fish or document it for record purposes, the best method is to not remove the fish from the water.  In-water releases can be aided by the use of de-hooking devices that eliminate the need to boat the fish and keep hands safe distances away from the fish.  If the fish has swallowed the hook, it is much better for the angler to cut the leader as close to the fish as possible, rather than trying to forcibly remove the hook.

If a fish needs to be removed from the water to remove the hook and/or document it for record purposes, anglers should use either their hands or knotless, rubberized landing net.  Most small to moderately large sized fish can be landed by hand.  Ideally, this should be done with wet hands or soft, wet gloves to minimize slime and scale loss.  Lip gripping devices may be used to help subdue fish.   However, they should not be used to hoist fish vertically out of the water, as this can cause damage to jaw muscle and bone as well as to internal organs.  The best method for removing fish from the water is to grip the fish or the lower jaw and support the fish’s underside.  Again, the point is always to hold fish horizontally and not vertically.

IGFA Fish Release Recommendations: Part I – Terminal Tackle

December 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Conservation, Fishing, Guy Harvey Outpost Ltd. | Leave a comment
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circle-hookModifying the types of hooks you use can significantly affect a fish’s chances for survival after it is released.  When fishing with natural bait (dead or alive), IGFA strongly encourages the use of non-offset circle hooks.  Extensive research on species from salmon to sailfish has demonstrated that circle hooks gut hook significantly fewer fish without sacrificing catch rates. Lures that have treble hooks should have the barbs bent down or removed to facilitate easier hook removal.

Interested in the science behind circle hooks? Read Circle hooks, ‘J’ hooks and drop-back time: a hook performance study of the south Florida recreational live-bait fishery for sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus published inFisheries Management and Ecology in 2007.

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