Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lionfish nuggets

While in Belize, my islandmates Pete Gawne and Jay Dimond speared several lionfish, a predatory invasive fish that is wreaking havoc on coral reef food webs. Then, my friend Randi Rotjan carefully filleted them (photos below), first removing their venomous spines with thickly gloved hands, and then checking out their gut contents for fun (yes, that is the kind of fun scientists have on isolated tropical islands). The lionfish was served as nuggets, fried in seasoned breadcrumbs, with Marie Sharps hot sauce, and it was quite delicious.

Fishing the lionfish, for food and sport, is being used as an invasive control and eradication approach. You too can learn to fillet a lionfish in this instructional video, and then enjoy a great meal and contribute to the cause. Interestingly, others are attempting to train sharks to eat the lionfish, and report visual confirmation of sharks consuming lionfish, albeit in a somewhat engineered scenario.

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