Could lionfish in Florida waters end up on seafood restaurant menus?
They’re voracious, venomous and oh-so tasty. Lionfish have invaded Palm Beach County’s offshore reefs. But fear not: Conservationists say we can eat our way out of this ecological dilemma. Last year, lionfish were hardly on Van Blakeman’s radar, let alone his plate. “We saw three to five all year,” said Blakeman, captain of the dive boat Narcosis, based at the Riviera Beach Marina. “In the past few months, we’ve seen 300 to 500. And that’s from just one boat.” This summer, divers have begun regularly spotting the exotic imports on Florida’s offshore reefs, which the invasive Indo-Pacific natives treat like all-you-can-eat seafood buffets. With ravenous appetites and large, gaping mouths, a single lionfish can vacuum up 80 percent of a reef’s population of small fish in five weeks, according to one study done in the Bahamas. Conservationists are urging seafood lovers to fight Florida’s latest invasive species with a fork – and maybe a fresh herb crust. “Eat It to Beat It” is their rally