Lionfish Coming To A Supermarket Near You

Francis YupangcoBy Francis Yupangco 5 years ago1 Comment

shutterstock_198408566-680x454Being a Florida resident since 2009, I have been alarmed by the dramatic increase in lionfish seen during my dives. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages people to remove lionfish from State waters in an effort to control the negative effects of these invasive fish. So I am very glad to hear that supermarkets and restaurants are finally coming together to support the consumption of lionfish. Having participated in local lionfish fishing tournaments and fry-ups, that were organized in an effort to control this pest, I can say that lionfish is a pretty delicious, mild tasting white fish. Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, a respected consumer resource for selecting sustainable seafood, has recently labeled lionfish as a ‘best choice’, which is the highest available rating from the organization. For example, the high end supermarket chain Whole Foods only sells fish with the ‘best choice’ rating.  Whole Foods recently indicated that it will begin selling lionfish in stores on the West Coast within the next six months, which is welcome news for lionfish hunters and Florida reef lovers alike. Previously, supply had been a concern and it was difficult to find a steady source of this venoumous species. However, Restuaranter Ryan Chadwick is helping to solve this problem and is in the process of starting what is believed to be the first lionfish wholesale business in the Carribean, using local divers. Additionally, Chadwick is also working on creating a trap that would enable lionfish to be caught without depending solely on labor intensive spearfishing. Finding lionfish in a national supermarket and on more chefs menu’s will hopefully raise public awareness and interest, and create a market for eating this fish in the mainstream foodie community. We need to remove the perception of the lionfish as merely an aquarium resident, and more like a tasty seafood menu item, in order to help rid them from the waters of Florida and the Carribean. So if you see lionfish for sale at your local supermarket or on your favorite restaurant menu, I encourage you to give it a try.  MORE

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  Fish, Science
Francis Yupangco
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 Francis Yupangco

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Francis is a marine biologist with an MBA and over 20 years of professional aquarium experience. Francis is the former Aquatic Development Manager at Hagen USA., makers of Fluval brand aquarium products. He co-stars on Nat Geo WILD's reality TV series Fish Tank Kings where he is the resident "Fish Geek" and was Director of Marketing at Living Color Aquariums. He is an avid explorer having visited over 45 countries and lived in 7. At 17, he was among the youngest aquarists ever hired by the Vancouver Aquarium, where he worked for 7 years. His aquatic biology experience ranges from larval fish rearing to the design, construction and operational management of renowned public aquariums around the world. Francis is currently head of marketing at the world's largest vertically integrated fish farming company.

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