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State Bans Importation Of Lionfish

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Dave Hutchinson airbrushes a huge lionfish Friday, Oct. 21, 2011, in Key West, Fla. The fish replica is slated to roll down Key West's Duval Street in a Saturday, Oct. 29, parade that is to highlight the island city's annual 10-day Fantasy Fest costuming and masking festival that began Friday, Oct. 21. (Source: Rob O'Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

Dave Hutchinson airbrushes a huge lionfish Friday, Oct. 21, 2011, in Key West, Fla. The fish replica is slated to roll down Key West’s Duval Street in a Saturday, Oct. 29, parade that is to highlight the island city’s annual 10-day Fantasy Fest costuming and masking festival that began Friday, Oct. 21. (Source: Rob O’Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

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FORT MYERS (CBSMiami/ AP) — A ban on importing lionfish for the aquarium trade has been given final approval by Florida wildlife officials.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission gave preliminary approval to the lionfish ban in April. Officials finalized the ban Wednesday at the commission’s meeting in Fort Myers. The ban takes effect Aug. 1.

The commission also has approved methods that make it easier for scuba divers to catch lionfish in the wild. Aquarium shops would be allowed to obtain new lionfish from divers.

The fish have venomous spines, but they are edible.

Lionfish are considered as menacing to native wildlife throughout the Atlantic as Burmese pythons are in Florida’s Everglades. Both invasive species have thrived far from their native habitats, with no natural predators here to control their populations.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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