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Lawmakers Want Money To Target Lionfish, Tegu Lizards

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — A pair of state legislators has asked lawmakers to approve $600,000 over the next two years to fund a pilot program to hunt non-native tegu lizards, lionfish and a number of types of snakes.

The House proposal, filed this week by Rep. Halsey Beshears, adds lionfish to a separate Senate measure filed in early January by Sen. Frank Artiles from Miami.

In Beshears’ proposal, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission would be directed to work with the Department of Environmental Protection on the program, which would involve contracting with hunting and fishing teams to capture or destroy tegu lizards, which are native to Central and South America, lionfish, green anaconda, and several python species.

The hunts and fishing would occur in the Everglades and the Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area, along with other commission-managed areas where the species have been reported. The commission would have to get permission from the National Park Service for hunting and fishing teams in the Everglades National Park.

A report on the progress of the program would be due by January 1st, 2020.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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