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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

The Conservation Alliance

Catch & Eat

Catch & Eat

Predatory lionfish in Bahamas (credit: NPR/AP)


We think of invasive species like the strangling kudzu vine smothering millions of acres of southern forests or the Burmese pythons who have invaded the Everglades eating swamp deer and even consuming young alligators whole. However, another invader has established its presence in the Atlantic Ocean and is reproducing rapidly. The Lionfish (Pterois volitans) native to the Indian Ocean is now consuming young fish around islands in the Caribbean and along mid-Atlantic coasts. The invasive predator is devouring everything in its path.

One solution to this major aquatic problem is simply to eat them. Creative chefs are already at the task and cooking challenges from Iron Chef America can't be far behind. Two lionfish recipes sound especially tasty.

Grilled teriyaki Lionfish: whisk teriyaki sauce and finely chopped garlic together, rub on lionfish filets, cover, and let cool for 15 minutes. Fast grill or broil the filets until done and sprinkle with fresh cilantro and lime juice. Likewise, Lionfish tacos: spice lionfish filets with blackened seasoning and sear in hot pan with olive oil. Use flour or corn tortillas and fold the filets inside, add shredded lettuce, spicy pico de gallo, warmed black beans, shredded cheese, and cilantro to the tacos. Top with sour cream or fresh lime juice.

If you develop a lionfish recipe of your own, the Mother Nature Network would be a good place to send in a submission. It also helps if tourists go to the Caribbean, they choose a lionfish dinner selection that comes with major environmental benefits. The standard motto for anglers has long been catch & release to help sustain the health of the fishery. However, in the case of the invasive lionfish the mantra has been modified to catch & eat so go for those tacos. WHB

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