The Southwest Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) will host its annual Non-Native Fish Round-up over the course of two weekends beginning Friday, April 27.
Southwest Florida waterways are home to several non-native freshwater fish species. Many of these non-native species have a negative impact on the health and populations of our region’s native fish communities. The roundup is intended to raise awareness about the harmful effects of releasing non-native fish species into our local waters and to collect data about non-native fish distribution to assist wildlife management professionals with efforts to control these species.
The competition is split into two separate events in both Fort Myers and Naples. Groups of up to four individuals qualify as a team, in both youth and adult categories.
Location: Sugden Park, 4284 Avalon Drive, Naples
Details: Competition begins at 3 p.m. on Fri.; check-in between 3–4 p.m. on Sat., with scales opening for weigh-in at 4 p.m. For children 12 and under, a non-native fishing blitz will be held on Sat. from 4 to 6 p.m. at Avalon Lake in Sugden Park.
Location: Lakes Park, 7330 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers
Details: Competition begins at 3 p.m. on Fri.; check-in between 3–4 p.m. on Sat., with scales opening for weigh-in at 4 p.m. For children 12 and under, a non-native fishing blitz will be held on Sat. from 4 to 6 p.m. within the lake at Lakes Park.
Participants may register to compete in one or both weekends. There is no cost to register.
Fishing during the competition is permitted in all legal freshwater fishing areas in Southwest Florida, including Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. Participants must follow all state and federal fishing regulations.
Prizes will be awarded each weekend for largest non-native fish and most weight of total non-native fish caught. Additionally, a grand slam prize will be awarded to one adult angler and one youth angler who reel in the most diverse group of non-native species from either weekend.
The event is co-sponsored by the Southwest Florida CISMA, UF/IFAS Extension, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Lee County Parks & Recreation, Collier County Parks & Recreation, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and the Naples Zoo.
Participants must register in advance online. To register and for additional information, visit www.floridainvasives.org/southwest.