Representatives Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) have reintroduced H.R. 943, the Finding Innovative Lionfish Elimination Technologies (FILET) Act of 2017, legislation that would award competitive grants to universities and nonprofit research organizations focused on eliminating this invasive species. (Please find a copy of the legislation attached.)
“The invasive Lionfish has wreaked havoc throughout the oceans along the Southeastern United States,” said Congressman Hastings. “Damage to reefs and marine life has detrimental effects on the economies of these areas. This bipartisan legislation will spur innovation and the development of technologies to help eradicate this invasive species, protecting both the ecosystems and economic livelihoods of the communities affected. I thank Congressman Curbelo for his leadership in this area and for reintroducing this legislation with me.”
“For decades, coastal communities along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico have faced a growing ecological and economic threat from Lionfish,” said Congressman Curbelo. “As private entities continue to research new and innovative ways to combat this invasive species, government should allocate resources to address this major risk to South Florida’s marine fisheries, habitats, and eco-systems.”
Lionfish have no natural predators in our region and a single female lionfish can spawn up to 2 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 continue to grow, resulting in detrimental consequences to the health of our coral reefs.
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.