TPW Magazine/Invasives: Eating Lionfish

Lionfish, photo by CHASE FOUNTAIN TPWD 2013

Lionfish, photo by CHASE FOUNTAIN TPWD 2013

This is Passport to Texas

Popular among saltwater aquarium enthusiasts, the beautiful and venomous Lionfish – native to reefs in the South Pacific –ended up in South Atlantic waters where no predators exist.

06—Mainly nothing eats them because their coloring and their appearance says ‘danger’ to other animals.

Melissa Gaskill is a science and travel writer living in Austin. Considered invasive, Lionfish – known as voracious eaters and prolific breeders—outcompete and eat native gulf species. Gaskill says it’s time humans make short work – and dinner—of Lionfish.

08—This is one of the few fish where authorities encourage you to catch and eat as many as you can. There’s no limit; the more the better.

Florida holds Lionfish derbies where people remove the fish in bulk from gulf waters. Gaskill says if you bring one to shore, steer clear of the venomous fin tips. She says if you want to eat lionfish without the risk…

21— Well, the easiest way is to get a commercial fishery going and order it in a restaurant. And I think that will eventually happen – and it’s delicious, so that will be a good thing. In the meantime, certainly most of the derbies people spearfish; and actually lionfish are really easy to spearfish because they don’t dart away. You know, they’re top of the food chain type behavior and they just sort of sit there looking at you saying like, ‘Yeah. Bring it on.’

Melissa Gaskill’s article on lionfish appears in the December issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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