Sarasota, Florida -- Lionfish are pretty to look at but that's about it says commercial fisherman Rachel Bowman.
"The lionfish are gorgeous but extremely detrimental to our environment not picky eaters. A lionfish can consume anything 2 inches smaller than itself," says Bowman.
And that healthy appetite, says Bowman, may one day pose a threat to commercial fishing. She says, "Only a matter of time before snapper, grouper and lobster show a decline because of lionfish."
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says man is the lionfish's best predator. To help control the population FWC approved a lobster incentive program: 1 extra lobster over the bag limit for 10 lionfish per person, per day during the lobster mini-season July 29-30.
Bowman says, "Complete eradication will never happen but control with devices like these there are possibilities."
The Zookeeper developed by Allie Elhage from Sarasota comes in different sizes for recreational and commercial use. The device made out of PVC pipes safely stores the lionfish during a dive. A diver takes the fish speared inserts it through the rubber flap opening.
"When you take it out it strips the fish off and the fish are contained inside," said Elhage. He assembles the Zookeeper at his home.
LEARN MORE:Common questions on lionfish
Elhage says this year he has sold more Zookeepers than 2013 and 2014 combined.
Bowman says the device protects divers from the lionfish's venomous spines and makes each dive more profitable.
"I can fit 55 pounds of fish in it," says Bowman who dives three times a day 5 days a week and sells her fish to local retailers and restaurants.
"Lionfish is delicious," says Bowman. "It's mild, light, flaky and slightly sweet."
Bowman says the Zookeeper has helped her harvest 5 times more lionfish since she started using it 3 months ago and has not been stung by one of the venomous spines.
Bowman says if you are new at spearfishing the lionfish is a good fish to start with because they are so easy to catch.
"Spearing lionfish is like picking apples. They're completely stationary not afraid of humans," says Bowman.
The state makes it easy too there's no off-season … no bag or size limits or license required to harvest lionfish.
Bowman says, "Anything that gets lionfish out of the water is a good idea."