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New Florida record set for the longest lionfish caught in the Gulf of Mexico

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New Florida record set for the longest lionfish caught in the Gulf of Mexico (Photo:{ }The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) – A new Florida record has been set for the longest lionfish in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Donald Bautrinot snagged it off Destin on Oct. 18.

The lionfish measured 18.19 inches, beating the former record of 18.07 inches.

A news release says Vautrinot was spearfishing for red snapper when he spotted the lionfish.

“I saw a monster lionfish and immediately knew I wanted to measure it,” Vautrinot said. “I got really excited because I knew the Gulf record was around 18 inches but I didn't know exactly and we didn't have a cell signal to check it out there.”

When Vautrinot got back to shore, he took the lionfish to Okaloosa County coastal resource manager Alex Fogg for an official measurement.

Bautrinot's Gulf record came in short of the overall state record of 18.78 inches.

FWC encourages removal of lionfish, which are an invasive species.

The FWC lionfish record program includes categories for both length and weight in spearing, hook and line, and junior (16 and under) divisions.