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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.

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Catch & Eat

Catch & Eat

Predatory lionfish in the Bahamas (credit: NPR/AP)


When you think about an invasive species the strangling kudzu that has smothered millions of acres of southern forests or the Burmese pythons that has invaded the Florida Everglades eating anything they can capture comes to mind. However, another invader has established its presence in the Atlantic Ocean and is reproducing rapidly. The Lionfish (Pterois volitans), a fish native to the Indian Ocean, is now consuming young reef fish around islands in the Caribbean and along mid-Atlantic coasts. This 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 when tourists go to the Caribbean, they choose a lionfish dinner  that also comes with environmental restoration benefits. The standard motto for anglers has long been catch & release to help sustain the health of a fishery. However, in the case of the lionfish the mantra has been changed to catch & eat. So go grab some of those tasty tacos. WHB

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