Lions Share Lionfish
This video taken by divers off Pensacola, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico is a surprising example of how lionfish are taking over structures and reefs. This is not a “one here, one there” thing. I had not seen such numbers as are on this airplane wreck in the Gulf. Good job to the divers who are reducing the numbers in this uphill battle.
Lionfish are non-native species that have been introduced and are flourishing in waters up and down the East Coast and into the Bahamas and Gulf of Mexico. They breed prolifically and have no natural predators. They are a voracious eater, and it is feared that they will consume a large portion of the natural inhabitants of the reefs.
Efforts are underway to educate the outdoor public on how to safely kill and eat these tasty yet harmful fish.
Care must be taken to avoid the poisonous spines in the fins of the lionfish.
Non-lethal, but extremely painful reactions are a result of being poked. In the video you see the Zoo Keeper, a containment device that keeps you safe from the spines while harvesting lionfish.
Removing the spines is simple and once done, the fish can be cleaned like other fish. The meat is almost translucent and reminds me of the delicious hogfish that is coveted by those in the know.
Check out my past article on how to clean lionfish.
Photo Credit: You Tube video capture