lionfish_wiki, hunting lionfish, protecting indigenour fish species, sustainable fishing, invasive species of fish(Blue Ocean Network.com – September 9, 2014) — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has released new rules in Florida to help control the spread of invasive lionfish. DEMA encourages divers to familiarize themselves with the FWC’s new lionfish rules, and has partnered with Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Reef Environmental and Education Foundation (REEF) in creating a safety poster and card for divers to increase safety awareness when spearing or handling lionfish.

The FWC has banned imports by aquarium stores and lifted restrictions on catching lionfish to make it easier for divers to spear them. These new rules allow lionfish to be speared by divers using rebreathers and allow lionfish competitions to be held in areas that are normally closed to spearfishing. With these new guidelines in place, DEMA has partnered with DAN and REEF to distribute a first aid safety card and poster that provide effective basic first aid instructions for lionfish related injuries. Divers can also download the card from DAN‘s website, REEF‘s website or from DEMA’s BeADiver.com website.

“With the FWC’s new lionfish rules, more divers will be hunting lionfish in efforts to help control local populations of these invasive and detrimental fish,” commented Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA. “However, it is imperative for divers to equip themselves with proper first aid knowledge when hunting lionfish. By promoting the safety materials we created in conjunction with DAN and REEF, we hope to empower divers with the necessary knowledge to quickly and properly handle an encounter with the venomous lionfish.”

Both the poster and card highlight how to manage a lionfish sting while diving and outline surface first aid procedures. DAN’s emergency hotline phone number is also included on the safety materials. All divers and Industry professionals are encouraged to download and share the safety poster and card with their social media friends and followers as well as their local diving community to spread this important message.

DEMA, the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, is an international organization dedicated to the promotion and growth of the recreational scuba diving and snorkeling industry. With more than 1,300 Members, this non-profit, global organization promotes scuba diving through industry research, consumer awareness programs and media campaigns such as the national Be A Diver campaign; diver retention initiatives such as DiveCaching; and an annual trade-only event for businesses in the scuba diving, action watersports and adventure/dive-travel industries, DEMA Show. For more information on DEMA and affiliated programs contact (800) 862-DIVE (3483) or (858) 616-6408 or visit www.dema.org. Stay updated by following “DEMAOrg” on Facebook and Twitter.