Lionfish: An Edible Enemy

What's New — By Julie on January 13, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Who knew? Pluck the spines off the little buggers and you get a fanciful feast of fish.

The Florida Keys-based Reef Environmental Education Foundation has released “The Lionfish Cookbook,” designed to encourage the removal and consumption of the invasive Indo-Pacific red lionfish. It features 45 recipes for preparing the mild-flavored white meat of the lionfish, considered a delicacy, including favorites such as ceviche, bacon-wrapped lionfish appetizers or orange ginger fillets.

Authored by personal chef Tricia Ferguson and REEF’s director of special projects, Lad Akins, the cookbook describes how the rapidly growing populations of this non-native marine fish are out-competing native fish for food and territory due to lack of predators and its prolific, year-round reproduction. Many countries are encouraging consumption of lionfish to create demand and incentive for lionfish removals.

REEF is a nonprofit marine conservation organization based in Key Largo, whose mission is to conserve marine ecosystems for their recreational, commercial and intrinsic value by educating, enlisting and enabling divers and other marine enthusiasts to become active stewards and citizen scientists.    To purchase a cookbook, call 305-852-0030 or visit

Some say, if you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em.   Buón appetito.

Tags: cookbook, cooking techniques, cooking tips, Food, Indo-Pacific lionfish, Key Largo, Keys seafood, lionfish, REEF

    1 Comment

  • Heidi Reidell says:

    In Great Pedro Bay, in St. Elizabeth on Jamaica’s south coast, I was amazed to see a sackful of these lionfish caught by local fishermen. I had a fisherman remove the spines. Do the spines only sting when the fish is alive?

    If you send a review copy of this cookbook, I’ll send a review of it to local newspapers.

    Heidi Reidell
    Malvern Post Office
    St. Elizabeth, Jamaica WI


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