Invasive lionfish are on the menu

The lionfish has become a predator in the Atlantic Ocean. Image: Shutterstock

Marine scientists have suggested an unusual method of removing a predator from the local reefs- eat it.

The lionfish is now posing a threat to the species of the world-famous coral reefs of the coast of Florida, prompting the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) to suggest we start eating them.

Red lionfish are native to the Indian Ocean, the South Pacific and the Red Sea, but have been expanding into the Atlantic and the Caribbean, due to a lack of natural predators. They are also relatively resistant to parasites, equipped with venomous spines that deter any other predators and are now listed as one of the top 15 threats to global biodiversity.

The US government believes that the lionfish escaped into the Biscayne Bay (Miami) during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, after an aquarium broke. They are now consuming large numbers of the local fish and crustacean species, so REEF has released a cookbook containing 45 recipes in an attempt to counter this invasion.

The Lionfish Cookbook, co-written by Lad Akins, the director of special projects for REEF, and professional chef Tricia Ferguson, includes handy tips on how to collect, handle and prepare the lionfish species. Akins describes the predator as a delicacy with very buttery, delicately flavoured white meat.

REEF has also organised “╦ťfishing derbies’, which include handling tips and tasting sessions. Akins says that the coral-dwelling fish can be speared, netted or caught using a rod and reel, but recommends puncture-proof gloves, as they have venomous spines.

Source: News Daily

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