TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — One Bradenton man is trying to get rid of the overpopulated lionfish in an unconventional way, by glock-fishing underwater.
This means shooting lionfish underwater with a glock pistol. Courtland Hunt said he taped his experience to raise awareness about the lionfish’s harmful overpopulation.
FWC spokesperson, Amanda Nalley, said the FWC is aware of the video and the agency encourages people to remove lionfish, but not with firearms.
She said, using this kind of gear to capture fish is “not a legal method of taking fish, regardless if it’s an invasive species.”
According to the FWC, it is illegal to shoot fish in state waters. Hunt defined state waters as 9 miles from shore, and after that he said a body of water becomes federal jurisdiction. Hunt said he went glock-fishing about 30 miles off of Anna Maria Island, which is located off the coast of west Florida.
Hunt said FWC investigators contacted him Monday morning and eventually turned the case over to the federal government. Nalley said the FWC is looking into what kind of gear is allowed in federal waters.
According to Hunt, the FWC emailed Hunt Monday evening and said, “We have spoken with our federal partners at NOAA and have determined that your method of taking lionfish, in federal waters, does not violate any federal rules.”
Hunt, who is the FSDA’S Chairman for the Salt Life Super-Series of Spearfishing and considers himself an extreme outdoor athlete, said the project started because his team wanted to see if they could shoot a gun underwater after many others said it couldn’t be done.
Hunt said his experiment turned into a full blown project to eradicate lionfish because they are an invasive species according to the FWC. Hunt wants to bring attention to the lionfish issue because he says the “natural fish population is getting pushed out because lionfish have predators.” He said his main goal is to get people to eat lionfish and get local markets and restaurants to actively supply lionfish for consumption.
Hunt said he had a great time, and really enjoyed making his video. Watch the full version of Hunt’s glock-fishing underwater video below.