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Lionfish: From Predator to Entrée

A few years ago, Caribbean countries had branded the lionfish “Public Enemy #1”.  Originally from the Indo-Pacific Seas , scientists say that this popular exotic aquarium animal was released into the wilds of the Atlantic Ocean. Known to wipe out 50 percent of native species of fish within days of inhabiting an area, something had to be done in order to preserve the ecosystem.

It does seem, however, that the battle against this invasive species in the western Atlantic Ocean may be turning  a corner.  While they will never be completely eliminated, the lionfish population is reducing.

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The reason: the hunter became the hunted and we started eating them! According to the  World Lionfish Hunters Association, Lionfish meat is described as “a white flaky fish, firmer in texture than halibut, no “red line” with a flavor profile somewhere between a thin grouper fillet and mahi mahi with a touch of butter.”

Now, imagine the possibilities!

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Many restaurants in the Caribbean and United States  serve this new-found delicacy. Restaurants such as Flying Fish on Grand Bahama Island in The Bahamas, and Norman’s Cay in New York City, are known for their lionfish  creations.

Norman's Cay NYC
King of The Jungle Plate – From Norman’s Cay NYC

If you are lucky enough to visit a restaurant that has lionfish on the menu, by all means, give it a try! Not only will you enjoy this wonderful delicacy (while it lasts) but you will be doing your part to help sustain native species. Tough work, but we should all do our part! 😉

Here are two short videos of Chef Tim Tibbitts of Flying Fish Restaurant preparing a delicious lionfish meal.

Part I:

Part II: