CREATED Jun. 24, 2013
COLLIER COUNTY Fla.- They're mean, they're dangerous and they've been sneaking around in Collier County waters. The invasive lionfish have been popping up all across the gulf, so to stop them from destroying practically everything in sight, one Naples fisherman took matters into his own hands.
It was a lionfish encounter earlier this year that speared Bill D'Antuono's mission for change. He wanted to kill the invasive species but his hands were tied. He was banned from using the one tool capable of taking them out.
" It is the only way to get rid of them, you can't target hook and line." D'Antuono said.
Since the 1950's, Collier was the only county in the state that banned spearfishing. Bill started a petition and the Naples Spearfishing League. The league's Facebook page shows even more proof of these deadly creatures.
"They go after the grouper, snapper even Florida lobster. They'll eat and eat anything that is there they will eat. They'll continue to eat until someone spears them." D'Antuono said.
His concern caught the eyes of Collier County Commissioners who asked Florida Fish and Wildlife to repeal the ban. An FWC spokeswoman said these fish have no predators and are destroying our ecosystem.
" They're found as far north as Rhode Island and in the Gulf all the way over to Texas. So we have this invasive species that the population is continuing to grow you're seeing them more and more." Amanda Nalley with Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said.
The ban is officially lifted on June 30th. There are some rules and regulations to what you can and can't spear for more information click on the Big Red 4.