The most important factor to note when handling a lionfish is where the venomous spines are located, there are usually 18 spines each of which is sharper than a hypodermic needle ,13 of them are located along the spine in the dorsal fins, there is one short spine in the leading edge of each of the pelvic fins and 3 short spines in the leading edge of the anal fin.
Photo showing the location of the venomous spines of the lionfish
There are specific tools that should be used when handling the lionfish such as
- Puncture proof gloves
- Long bbq meat tongs
- A very sharp fillet knife which is flexible
- Kitchen scissors
- Large wooden cutting board
- Clean work space
- Lots of water
Since there has been such a rapid growth of this predatory population in the Caribbean
they can be seen as an untapped food source for the restaurant business the taste of the lionfish has been compared to that of the snapper one of the many fish that this predators hunt.
By eating this venomous predatory fish it provides some relief to the reef as the reef is under extreme stress from this predator. The lionfish is hunted by the use of pole spears which is done quickly, safely and in large quantities. Along with this in countries such as the US most notably Florida Divers can earn money from selling the lionfish they caught to restaurants. So in other words the divers are being paid to clear the reef of this predator while profitting off it.
By Tamika Rampersad