Lionfish, the prickly fifteen-inch increasingly dominant Atlantic marine creature, is growing in abundance at an alarming rate. Intimidating to stare down, these fish are becoming quite the appetizing dish lately.
Lionfish are presently considered a threat due to the excessive growth rate (females can produce 30,000 to 40,000 eggs at one time) of these spiked fish, which led to efforts at population control because of a series of factors.
Steve Gittings, who is the science program manager for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Sanctuary Program, best explained the reason behind population control for lionfish.
"Without any known predators, and apparently no significant diseases or parasitic controls in Atlantic ecosystems, their numbers continue to skyrocket," Steve Gittings said.
The director of special projects for the non-profit conservation group REEF, Lad Akins, spoke about the benefits of getting the lionfish out of the oceans, which would be achieved by encouraging the human consumption of the fish.
"We certainly want to see lionfish in more restaurants because as it goes into the market place, it creates a demand. Anything that removes them out of the water is a good thing," Lad Akins said.
Fortunately, the cooking process as well as the procedure of severing the meat of the fish from the poisonous spikes, prevents any poison from harming people when eating the lionfish.
According to Tony Fins, who is a representative for the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, "Lionfish are the biggest threat to ecosystem, not only in Florida, but also the Caribbean. We all know this is a problem, so let's speed up the process."
According to David Link, who is the manager of the Food Shack in Jupiter, Florida, "It's deadly, but it's one of most delicious fish you'll ever eat." That's one way to put it. Another avenue of thought was best explained by food supplier Mano Calambichis who co-owns Big Chef.
"We better learn how to eat them, before they eat us," Mano Calambichis said.[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]