How to make Uncle Sam proud: Buy American, fly a flag, eat...lionfish? That third one is, indeed, what one government agency would like you to do. The voracious, aggressively invasive lionfish is wreaking havoc in the Caribbean, off the Florida Keys, and along the Atlantic as far north as Massachusetts, eating its way through 56 species of fish and invertebrates and multiplying like mad—a female produces 2 million eggs each year. That's led a government oceanic agency to get behind an "Eat Lionfish" campaign, reports MSNBC.
Promoters say the spiky lionfish may not look appetizing, but its white, flaky flesh is indeed tasty. But use caution: "They are venomous, but it’s only in the spines, not in the meat," says the director of a marine conservation nonprofit, only somewhat reassuringly. "With just normal precautions, you can fillet it, and get a very nice piece of fish.” The lionfish, which is native to the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, made the jump from exotic pet to invasive species in the 1980s, probably after someone in the aquarium trade released one into the Atlantic, says researchers.