COCOA BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) —  How are Florida wildlife officials going to stop the invasion of the lionfish? That’s the question facing The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as it begins a three-day conference in Cocoa Beach.

Experts say the invasive species threatens the state’s reefs and native fishes. The commission’s executive director says managing the growing lionfish population will require cooperation among the public and multiple government agencies.

Nick Wiley says “all ideas are welcome.” State and federal officials have encouraged people to remove lionfish and eat them to aid conservation efforts. Lionfish have no predators and are voracious eaters.

Officials say the numbers of lionfish in the Atlantic have spiked dramatically since they were first spotted in Florida waters in the 1980s.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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