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Aquatic Nuisance species in Florida

Non-native aquatic species of plants, fish and animals are infesting the waters of Florida. Under the right conditions these nuisances can increase at an alarming rate and displace the native species, cause blockage of the waterways and increase flooding, lower oxygen levels, lower fish populations, destroy local ecosystems, and have a negative impact on navigation and recreation.

They are next to impossible to eliminate once they are introduced. It is therefore imperative to properly clean watercraft and equipment after each use. 

You can help prevent the introduction and spread of non-native species from one body of water to another by checking, draining, cleaning and drying your boat.

We recommend that you follow these steps:

  • Thoroughly check the boat and trailer for any plants or mussels
  • Drain the water from your motor
  • Thoroughly wash the hull of each watercraft
  • Drain all water, and dry all areas
  • Drain and dry the lower outboard unit
  • Clean and dry all live-wells

An example of an invasive species recreational boaters or divers may encounter is the Lionfish. Recreational fishermen and divers are encouraged to report and remove Lionfish from Florida waters if possible. Be aware that Lionfish have venomous spines that are used defensively on predators. Stings from the Lionfish can cause swelling, blistering, dizziness, necrosis, and temporary paralysis. If stung, immerse sting in hot water for 30 to 90 minutes and if necessary seek medical attention.

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