Swimming for his royal portrait, this lionfish is a beautiful creature of the sea. His majesty showed absolutely no concern for us. We were merely curiously weird-looking creatures that were obviously too large to eat and not worthy of an alarm.
Unfortunately, his Highness needs to become concerned about us. The lionfish has become a serious issue to conservationists and divers in the Atlantic.
But why the loss of love? Lionfish look great in an aquarium. In fact, the lionfish is often available at specialty aquarium shops both domestically and through online international purchase.
Depending on the variety and species these fabulous additions to any saltwater aquarium hobbyists collection will run you from $37-$110.
- Invaders: In the Atlantic and Caribbean the Lionfish is an invasive species. This naturally means that they do not belong here. Their introduction to the fragile coral reefs off of Florida and the Bahamas occurred due to the intentional dumping of lionfish by frustrated fish owners. These hobbyists either grew tired of their pets or the pet quickly outgrew his tank and ate his tank mates. Once in the ecosystem, this fish quickly adapted and grew out of control.
- Apex predator: In the world of tropical reefs there are two predators that have no natural enemies. The first is barracuda. The second is the lionfish.The venomous spines that these beautiful fish display both to corral their prey and protect themselves make short work of any natural predator wanting to make a quick meal of them. This appetite combined with a stomach that can expand over 30 times and a voracious appetite for at least 50 different species of animals on the reef causes severe trouble. You have an eating machine that is unstoppable.
- Menu Please! As it turns out, lionfish have a wonderful flavor slightly reminiscent of lobster. Most people are willing to try this delicacy once they learn that lionfish are both invasive and destructive to the local ecosystem and the fish that has no natural predators.
Realistically, we weren’t a threat to them due to their status as a pet. However, once discovered that they’re not only edible but very tasty sautéed with a touch of butter, all bets were off.
The harvesting of lionfish during derbies and the recent additions of how to guides for preparation of this fish led to some restaurants trying their hand at lionfish on the menu. A small number of entrepreneurs have already begun ideas for farming these exotic fish for mass consumption. Their future as a main course seems assured.
Like what you read about Lion’s Pride?
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