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Invasive Species and Aquatic Nuisance: Still Eating Lionfish

Jul 08, 2015 01:58 PM EDT
Lionfish prepared by four Savannah, Ga. chefs will be on a menu benefitting a marine sanctuary off the Georgia coast.
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

Invasive lionfish are appearing on menus and otherwise being addressed by marine managers in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. In an update on the dumped aquarium fish that is an aquatic nuisance from North Carolina to South America, including the Gulf of Mexico, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) recently declared a new plan to prevent the spread of the fish and prevent further harm to marine ecoysystems.

Introduced to non-native oceans in the 1980s through the U.S. aquarium trade, the two main lionfish species (Pterois volitans and P. miles) reduce native fish populations by up to 80 percent, according to a release.

Scientists believe the fish can be controlled in certain locations, such as marine protected areas, according to the release.

One way to control the invasive species is to eat it. Along those lines, the superintendent of one such protected area, Sarah Fangman at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary off the Georgia coast, says that lionfish make "tasty eating" if you cut off their stinging spines, according to WSAV-TV, in parts of Georgia and South Carolina.

Lionfish dinners prepared by four Savannah chefs will be on the menu in September, at a benefit for Gray's Reef called "A Fishy Affair: Malicious but Delicious," WSAV reported

To see the plan, click on the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force website.  

Follow Catherine at @TreesWhales

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