Lionfish are beautiful fish, but they are invasive in Atlantic and Caribbean waters. They are harming invaded ecosystems by eating too many juvenile fish which leads to smaller adult fish populations, less food for native predators, and changes in important ecosystem processes upon which both marine animals and humans depend.
So what can we do about this widespread threat? Spear and eat lionfish! They taste just like snapper or grouper and are even higher in Omega3 than both of those traditional options. Lionfish are venomous, not poisonous, meaning their toxins are only in their spines and their meat is perfectly safe to eat. So don’t let those spines scare you away! The next time you are at the coast or in the Caribbean, eat lionfish! You can also check out the REEF Lionfish Cookbook! Or learn how to filet your own lionfish!
Raising awareness regarding the threat posed by the lionfish invasion is indeed important, as is promoting lionfish as a food item. However, for a commercially sustainable solution, the economic return to fishers for harvesting lionfish needs to be increased sufficiently to offset the higher cost of catching them (need to use spears or hand nets) as compared to other seafood species. One approach – promotion of use of lionfish spines and tails in jewlery and otyher decorative items. Its already happening in Belize! Information here:
This is an awesome idea and it is great to see local people getting involved in this pressing ecological issue! We would love to hear more about this program so please keep us updated!
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