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Ban On Importing Lionfish Into Florida Takes Effect

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Lionfish (Photo By MARK RALSTON/AFP/GettyImages)

Lionfish (Photo By MARK RALSTON/AFP/GettyImages)

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — Aquarium shops wanting to get lionfish will have to get it from a diver thanks to a new ban on importing the fish which kicked in Friday.

The ban is one of several changes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said will reduce the number of lionfish introduced into state waters.

Other changes taking effect Friday will make it easier for lionfish hunters to remove the spiny predators from the water. Now divers can use an air-recycling device called a re-breather while spearfishing for lionfish. Approved tournaments featuring spearfishing for lionfish also will be allowed in certain state parks or refuges where spearfishing is otherwise prohibited.

Experts said lionfish are menacing to native wildlife throughout the Atlantic, where they have no natural predators. The fish have venomous spines, but they are edible.

(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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