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I recently came across a Facebook page, Lionfish University, dedicated to the hunting of this beautiful but invasive species. It is one of several pages focused on that same subject. Rebecca and I were discussing the last time that we saw a Lionfish and agreed that it was way back in Puerto Rico. Coincidentally though, just yesterday I just saw a post on Facebook where someone was looking to get some spear tips shipped to Grenada to help with culling Lionfish there. Admittedly, we haven’t done a ton of snorkeling in Grenada but even still, we have yet to come across one of these hard-to-mistake fishes.

One thing I find curious is that the Lionfish people are strongly promoting how to prepare them for consumption. While I’ve heard that they can be quite tasty, I’ve also read reports of the fish carrying Ciguatoxin. Even if the jury is still out on that, I’m pretty sure that we’d rather err on the side of caution and won’t be cooking up any Lionfish for dinner in areas prone to Ciguaterra. Grenada, to my knowledge, is not so afflicted so perhaps if we come across any Lionfish when we’re south of here, we’ll give it a try. Lionfish and Chips, anyone?

26 Comments

  1. When we were in the Caymans they were everywhere! They were also cooking them all over the place.

  2. Apparently they’re all over South Florida too, although I’ve never seen one. I tried it at the Florida Dive show a few years ago. They had samples at a seminar about Lionfish. Pretty tasty!

  3. Only the spines are poison. Don’t poke yourself and you have a beautiful and tasty dinner there!

  4. From what I know of ciguaterra it is generally found in larger predator fish that live around reefs, for example barracuda, snapper and even grouper. The theory is that the toxin accumulates in the flesh of these type fish such that it is more concentrated in the larger and older fish. Therefore I’d be surprised to learn that lionfish were prone to ciguaterra.

    • According to the FDA…

      http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/03/fda-adds-lionfish-to-list-of-fish-that-may-carry-ciguatoxins/

      In its draft guidance, FDA refers fish processors to its Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance, also known as The Guide, for a list of the fish that may carry dangerous levels of ciguatoxins. These include certain species of barracuda, grouper, scamp, amberjack, snapper, hind, hogfish, jobfish, pompano, jacks and trevally, wrasse, mackerel, tang, moray eels and parrotfish, according to The Guide.

      With its new guidance, FDA has added two species of lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles) to those that may pose a CFP threat.

      “We have also found CFP toxins in lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles) collected in waters surrounding the U.S. Virgin Islands,” says the agency in the document. “However, as of January 2013, there have been no reports of CFP illnesses associated with the consumption of lionfish.”

  5. My Scuba guide in Grand Turk a few years back had been eating them for a while with no ill effects. There was no mention of ciguaterra, though.

    Very pretty fish and everyone said they taste great, but I had a cruise ship to catch so I couldn’t stick around to try the three he got that day.

  6. A company a few years back was promoting this fish entrepreneurly due to its abundance and the fact that this specific fish ruins the reef system so they were targeting that avenue……Anything that might cause me stomach pains diarrhea or death is not going on my plate

  7. We all take “risks’ every day, Running, riding bikes etc etc, We / I have had Lion fish since we went into the Bahamas a year ago & are now in St Martin & have had no issues ‘at all” I will only eat /kill what is enough for a meal for 1. But I do kill all I find. We were told only eat the fish in a restaurant but then we seen the fisherman take the fish from a local reef to that same restaurant !! so why cant i eat the fish from the same reef ?? we do. BUt only small fish again enough for one person ‘nothing big.

  8. Hi Mike,

    Maybe they just started moving down the island chain recently. This winter we saw them in Grenada (outside St. Georges), Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, even the BVI’s (in South Bay, Peter’s Island of all places!!)

    Eric

    • I’m sure that’s true. It wouldn’t surprise me at all that they are in the VI but I didn’t think they were as far south as Grenada yet.

  9. Based on this, it appears that they may have reached Grenada. http://nas2.er.usgs.gov/viewer/omap.aspx?SpeciesID=963

    Whether they have ciguatera or not, I wouldn’t know, but I read the same article you posted and they probably will not be on my menu. As a diver, however, I encourage their control.

  10. We had an awesome Lionfish dinner in Roseau, Dominica at the Westport Tavern near Sea Cat’s. After we got the bill we went back twice to argue – that they hadn’t charged us enough. The 4 of us drank beer all night, had the best meal that we had in our 6 months away, experienced unbelievably great service and paid $100 EC. I can hardly wait to go back next year before they figure out that they could double their prices.

  11. Lionfish is DELICIOUS! And really easy to spear since they have no predators. They just kind of sit still while you line up a shot. And as long as you cut off the spines, you’re all good!

    • I have experienced that. They just stare you down as you line up the shot with your spear. Of course, that intimidated me so much that I missed. 🙂

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