In the recent addition of Gulf of Mexico Science a short paper was published describing a small (< 0.5″) lionfish collected by a research team from Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Big Lagoon in September of 2013. The team was working on another project when they came across the well hidden little fish in the grass beds. Repeated attempts to capture more during the month of October were unfruitful but there may be some inshore now.
The University of West Florida and Florida Sea Grant will be monitoring inshore reefs for the presence of lionfish beginning this month. If anyone is collecting or snorkeling inshore and encounters a lionfish please contact us here at the Extension office (850-475-5230). Lets us know where and when you saw the fish. We also need to remind you that small lionfish can sting just as well as the adults. We do not recommend you handle the animal. For more information on lionfish in this area contact Sea Grant Agent Rick O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.