Pensacola-based startup moves ahead with plan for lionfish-killing drones

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    Although its initial July target for profitability proved too ambitious, American Marine Research Co., a startup based in Pensacola, is still trending upwards in its quest to rid the Gulf Coast of lionfish through drone technology.

    The company announced the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission scored it among the five best bidders in an October request for proposals for funding. In the RFP, the state sought to identify applicants who could capably develop and test equipment and methodologies to control lionfish at depths exceeding 130 feet.

    Out of 11 bids, American Marine Research Co. placed third, which should secure funding from the state. The startup beat out competition from larger companies such as Bermuda-based Atlantic Lionshare and C&T Marine Services in Port Saint Lucie.