Until recently, Lionfish- an invasive species native to the Pacific and Indian oceans, that has thrived in U.S. coastal waters- had no natural predators. But thanks to Whole Foods stores in Florida, that’s all changed! Whole Foods is now selling the “white, buttery meat” of the fish and the U.S. government has given their stamp of approval.
The U.S. government, and NOAA desperately want to stop the lionfish from preying on native fish and shellfish, so they’ve come out with a PSA of sorts:
The government believes the aquarium trade is to blame for introducing the fish to the U.S. in the 1980s. But now, by catching and eating them, all parties concerned feel they will be able to successfully their numbers and therefore the stress they are putting on the environment.
Whole Foods is selling lionfish at its 26 Florida stores for $9.99 a pound.
Lionfish, which can weigh up to 2.5 pounds, are known for their gold and white stripes and their lion-like mane of venomous spines. And that last part makes them particularly difficult to clean. But Whole Foods is going to take care of that. They have thoroughly trained their team members to do all the necessary preparations for shoppers- including the removal of the spines. Apparently, you do NOT want to tangle with the spines…and if you do, it will be a day you’ll not soon forget. NOAA says, “The spines of this species deliver a venomous sting that can last for days and cause extreme pain, sweating, respiratory distress, and even paralysis.”
Would you be willing to try this new addition to Whole Foods market? How do you feel about the government and NOAA wanting to rid our waters of this invasive species?