A report says that exotic Pacific red lionfish, a staple of hobbyist salt-water aquaria in the USA, are expanding across the Caribbean following an accidental release during Hurricane Andrew in south Florida.
The voracious and poisonous predators suck up reef fish at an astounding rate, destabilizing already-fragile food webs on reefs dealing with disease, pollution, and direct human pressure from fishing, boating, and diving activities.
So researchers are scrambling to figure out what will eat the menacing beauties in their new Caribbean home, experimenting with predators such as sharks, moray eels — and even humans.
Adventurous eaters describe the taste of lionfish fillets as resembling halibut. But so far, they are a tough sell. Hungry sharks typically veer abruptly when researchers try to hand-feed them a lionfish.
Blackened lionfish, anyone?