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Will You Start Eating Lionfish?

Updated on December 21, 2016


Lionfish | Source


My husband and I were watching the local Houston nightly news some time ago. There was a segment about an invasive species of fish called lionfish that is encroaching upon native species from the Caribbean area all the way up the East Coast and even into the Gulf of Mexico along the Texas coastline.

That drew our attention as we live not far from the Gulf of Mexico.

Pterois is the official name of this type of fish. Another name which seems very fitting for lionfish because of the coloration is zebrafish.

I knew of lionfish as being exotic aquarium fish and quite beautiful in appearance.

Their fins which spread out in all directions are toxic and because of that they have very few predators.

Lion fish

Lion Fish
Lion Fish | Source

Venomous Stings!

Their venom can cause painful stings if humans happen to come in touch with them.

Those who are small, elderly or with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to that sting. In some cases it can even be fatal. In is an encounter that will leave behind a agonizing an most unpleasant memory.

Apparently their usual habitat is in the Indo-Pacific regions of the world. However they started colonizing in this part of the world…whether it was from escaped aquarium fish…or some other means...they are now a problem.

The National Geographic video below shows what can be done to mitigate the problems caused by the rapidly increasing lionfish populations in our waters.

Colorful Lionfish

Colorful Lionfish
Colorful Lionfish | Source

Lionfish Reproduction

Lionfish in open ocean waters can live good long lives...even up to 15 years of age.

A female lionfish lays over a million eggs annually and can produce eggs up to every 4 days or so. They can live in deep waters and also shallow ones so are very adaptive to the environment.

Thus the best way to start keeping them at reasonable numbers would be to create a desirable menu item and for people to start eating them.

The toxins are killed at high cooking temperatures, so that is no problem. It would also give fishermen another source of income.

The taste of the cooked fish is reported to be quite mild and delicious.

Lovely Lion fish

Lovely Lion fish
Lovely Lion fish | Source

Bizzare Foods

I have since viewed a television show by the name of Bizarre Foods with the host Andrew Zimmern.

He goes around the world eating some of the most unusual things and in one episode he was tasting lionfish.

Andrew Zimmern also reported it as tasting very good.

If lionfish was on a restaurant menu, knowing what I have now learned about it, I would certainly be willing to try it.

Closeup of Lionfish

Closeup of Lionfish
Closeup of Lionfish | Source

Non Native Species

This is just one more example of what happens when non native species...whether plants or animals...start expanding into areas where they are not welcomed.

In the case of lionfish if an all out effort to keep them under control is not accomplished we may eventually have our reefs destroyed. It is probably impossible to eradicate them all.

The fish we count upon for sustenance will be scarce or even eliminated because the smaller fish upon which they prey will be eaten by the lionfish.

Would you eat lionfish if it was available on a restaurant menu or at your local seafood market?

See results

Red Lionfish

Red Lionfish
Red Lionfish | Source

Lionfish on the Menu

It is the red lionfish in particular which are invading the waters threatening the Caribbean and the United States.

The best of all scenarios according to the news report on television and reading further is to develop lionfish as a desired food item.

That will encourage fishermen to start harvesting them for profit when chefs and even home cooks want to add that type fish to our diets.

The way most lionfish are caught is by spear fishing.

I sincerely hope restaurateurs, seafood shops and even the seafood areas in our local grocery stores are paying attention to this potential looming disaster.

Let's all pitch in together and do what we can to lessen the danger that lionfish are now causing.

Learn much more about lionfish in the video below. It is rather frightening to know how fast they are populating our waters and the long term implications.

© 2016 Peggy Woods


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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 10 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      Have you ever watched the TV show Bizarre Foods? People in different parts of the world have been eating insects by choice and apparently relish them. It is as normal to harvest them as it is other sources of protein. I enjoy watching that show on occasion. One can learn much about how people live as well as what they choose to eat.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 11 months ago from North Texas

      Yes, I know insects are becoming more and more popular, at least to feed poor people. Always looking for a way to throw them something to eat that doesn't cost too much so the thrower won't look too stingy and Scroogish.

      A very informative article and I am glad to share it again. I hope you are staying cool down there. Mid to upper 90s here everyday, and to be 100 in a few days. If the humidity would come down a little it would help I think. Take care . . .

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      I seriously doubt that lionfish will ever make it to a Sam's Club or a Costco. Would be great if that happened. It is nice to be able to sample foods before purchasing them. Thanks for the share. Thinking of all of you...especially your this time.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      Many people around the world eat insects for a food source. It is interesting how diets vary around the world. Supposedly it is a high protein food source. You are correct from what I have read in that it is only the spines of lionfish that are poisonous. So no danger in eating them in restaurants if filleted and served. Thanks for the shares. is hot down here as well. AC's working overtime!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 11 months ago from sunny Florida

      Hopefully there will be a way to stem the tide of this invasion, if you would call it that. I am not sure if I would order it without having sampled it, you know what I mean? Maybe give me a little sample like they do at Sam's Club and let me see if it is something I will enjoy.

      Great hub, Peggy. Hoping all is well with you.

      Once again Angels are on the way ps shared

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