Capt. Levi Metcalf
From Food to Diving.
Lionfish are native to the Indo-Pacific, but are now established along the southeast coast of the U.S., the Caribbean, and in parts of the Gulf of Mexico.
How did the fish get to the Atlantic? While the exact cause is unknown, it’s likely that humans provided a helping hand. Experts speculate that people have been dumping unwanted lionfish from home aquariums into the Atlantic Ocean for up to 25 years.
Since lionfish are not native to Atlantic waters, they have very few predators. They are carnivores that feed on small crustaceans and fish, including the young of important commercial fish species such as snapper and grouper.
Unfortunately, NOAA researchers have concluded that invasive lionfish populations will continue to grow and cannot be eliminated using conventional methods. Marine invaders are nearly impossible to eradicate once established.
How lionfish will affect native fish populations and commercial fishing industries has yet to be determined. What is known is that non-native species can dramatically affect native ecosystems and local fishing economies.
Lionfish have venomous spines that can be very painful. Scientists are also actively studying these fish to better understand the potential threat that lionfish pose to key reef and commercial fish species. Learning more about the habits and preferences of lionfish in non-native waters also helps experts determine where to look for these invasive fish.
So now lets do our part and eat them
Great for a quick snack while spearfishing
1/2 lb. lionfish fillets cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
3 Tbs. fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 Red bell pepper, diced
1 Green bell pepper, diced
1 Yellow Bell pepper, diced
1 Jalapeno diced
2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
Tabasco to taste
Pinch of salt to taste
In a nonreactive bowl, combine lemon, lime, and orange juices, tomatoes, Bell peppers, cilantro, and Jalapenos. and stir to combine. Cut lionfish filets into 1/2-inch cubes, and add to the citrus juice. You want to completely cover the fish with the citrus juices. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Divide the ceviche among four small bowls and serve immediately.
Getting hit with a spine can be very painful its part of harvisting them. We as divers have a duty to try to save our reefs from the invation one fish at a time. so lets get out there and start shooting more. At the end of the day we save the reefs and get Dinner at the same time.
Pulling back the skin of a lionfish spine
Want new articles before they get published?
Subscribe to our Awesome Newsletter.