Lionfish invaders served for lunch

Problem Lionfish invaders eaten for lunch

Author: Pat
31st January 2012
 

Conservationists alarmed by marauding Lionfish in Florida have come up with a novel way to deal with the problem.

REEF of Key Largo has released a cookbook, detailing 45 recipes for Lionfish dinners.

“The Lionfish Cookbook” is the group’s latest strategy to counter an invasion of the non-native reddish brown-striped fish in Florida waters.

“It’s absolutely good eating — a delicacy. It’s delicately flavoured white meat, very buttery,” Lad Akins, director of special projects for Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), told Reuters.

He authored the cookbook along with a professional chef, Tricia Ferguson.

Red lionfish, a prickly predator armed with flaring venomous spines like a lion’s mane that give them their name, are native to the South Pacific, Indian Ocean and Red Sea.

With few natural predators, they have been rapidly expanding in Caribbean and Atlantic waters, voraciously preying on local fish, shrimp and crab populations across the region and in Florida, which has world-famous coral reefs.

Some scientists are now listing the invasive lionfish species among the top 15 threats to global biodiversity.

Akins said making humans the invading species’ top predator was the best way to fight back against the threat it posed.

“Fishermen and divers realise it’s a danger to our native marine life, through its predation.

“So creating a demand for the fish, a market for the fish, is in effect a de facto bounty,” he said.

U.S. government researchers believe the red lionfish was introduced into Florida waters during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 when an aquarium broke and at least six fish spilled into Miami’s Biscayne Bay.

Orders for the recipe book, which can be purchased online at www.reef.org, were said to be coming in fast.

 
 
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