State battles growing Lionfish population

Published On: Oct 22 2013 10:28:38 AM EDT   Updated On: Oct 22 2013 10:36:34 AM EDT
COCOA BEACH, Fla. -

Florida wildlife officials are holding a conference to discuss research on lionfish, an invasive species that experts say threatens the state's reefs and native fishes.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is hosting the conference Tuesday through Thursday in Cocoa Beach.

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.