Watch: Eat venomous lionfish and help the environment

Want to protect marine wildlife? You need to start chowing down on marine wildlife. That’s the not-at-all controversial idea being put forward around various parts of the world, where restaurants are serving up portions of lionfish.

The theory isn’t quite as crazy as it seems; the lionfish is a venomous barb-covered pest of a sea creature that looks incredible but has been damaging native fish and wildlife around the globe. Unhelpfully, it also doesn’t have any natural predators in the areas it’s been appearing, it can repel anything that comes near it with its huge venomous spines, and it also multiplies at an alarming rate.

Which is why there’s now a growing trade in hunting lionfish (divers with spears are the old-fashioned but highly effective preferred method), and then serving it to curious diners, as this ace video from National Geographic explains. Getting rid of them, it’s argued, helps preserve rich ecosystems in other areas – Florida in the above video, and also Bermuda, where Land Rover BAR and 11th Hour Racing undertook a project to preserve the area’s wildlife (after meeting with local ocean science organisations), which saw an organised lionfish dive followed by lionfish dinners at a local restaurant.

As one of the chefs in the above video points out, the cooking process is also an exercise in maximising your resources; kitchens can utilise almost every single piece of the spiky fish and it’s apparently a versatile ingredient – lionfish filet on Louisiana-style jambalaya, anybody?

This story appeared on:, June 9, 2016.