Who doesn’t like a good tasty fillet, especially when you’re doing environmental good when you’re eating it? We’ve all heard of the lionfish invasion in our waters, but now more and more divers are jumping on the fish to eat them.
The venomous Indo-Pacific red lionfish, whose Atlantic Ocean presence probably began in the 1980s, is an invasive species with no natural reef predators—except us. Its rapidly growing populations steal space and food resources from domestic species like grouper and snapper.
FS member Capt.NoBait has a few questions about filleting the lionfish to eat them. What parts of them are poisonous? How best to handle them from the first shot to the first mouthful? Other divers are chipping in their advice and even posting how-to videos on the thread.
In an upcoming tournament in the Lower Keys, divers can participate from their own private vessels or join a local dive operator’s charter.
Set for Saturday, Nov. 5, the Lower Keys Lionfish Derby is part of an ongoing series hosted by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The action is headquartered at Stock Island’s Hurricane Hole Restaurant & Marina, 5130 U.S. Highway 1 at mile marker 4.5.
Events are to begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, with a late registration followed by a mandatory 7 p.m. captains meeting and briefing on safe collection and handling procedures for lionfish.