As part of National Invasive Species Awareness Week, Feb. 22-28, the Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be partnering with other agencies to coordinate the first statewide Nonnative Fish Catch, Click and Submit Contest.
Partners are the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Invasive Species Partnership, University of Georgia, and Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area. The partnership plans to hold the event annually with the help of citizen scientists.
Contest submissions will help researchers better understand the distribution of nonnative fishes in Florida. To participate, anglers are asked to photograph and report their nonnative fish catch during the contest period, Feb. 21 – March 1.
The Catch, Click and Submit Contest will increase public awareness of nonnative species and encourage anglers to target nonnative fish for consumption. Florida is home to at least 34 species of reproducing nonnative fishes, and new species continue to be found. Nonnative fish may impact native fish communities, particularly as the number of species increases.
Florida has a large number of canals and lakes, which are not frequently sampled for nonnative fish.
“The Catch, Click and Submit Contest offers anglers the opportunity to assist natural resource managers in finding nonnative species by doing what they enjoy – fishing!” said FWC biologist Kelly Gestring. The early detection of a new, nonnative species could provide a better opportunity to control or even eradicate a population.
“Anglers can help protect their waterways by finding and reporting these fish before they get out of control,” Gestring said.
The Nonnative Fish Catch, Click and Submit Contest will be open to all licensed or legally exempt anglers in the state of Florida. There is no entry fee and prizes will be awarded. Entries can be submitted throughout the contest period but the final submissions must be made by midnight on Sunday, March 1. For more information on the contest and prizes visit FloridaInvasives.org and click on the contest under Quick Links. To register and start submitting reports on your mobile device visit IveGot1.org or download the reporting app by searching for IveGot1 in the app store.