- Associated Press - Thursday, October 6, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - This past summer’s Lionfish Challenge has come to a close with 16,609 of the invasive creatures removed from Florida waters.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release says Volusia County resident David Garrett was credited with catching 3,324 lionfish himself. He’ll be officially crowned Lionfish King at the FWC meeting in St. Petersburg next month.

John Dickinson came in second with a total of 2,408 lionfish removed. A total of 95 people participated in the challenge from across Florida and the southeastern United States. The Lionfish Challenge ran from May 16 to Sept. 30.

Lionfish are a nonnative species that were first noted in Florida waters in the mid-80s and have since spread up the Atlantic coast and across the Gulf of Mexico.

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