[Coral-List] Lion Consumption

Tim Brown - NOAA Affiliate tim.brown at noaa.gov
Tue Jan 22 15:18:20 EST 2013

Very nice,
 Any conclusive data about ciguatera levels in Pterois lionfish?  What
about regionality?  If they lionfish quickly without competition on the
reefs in developed areas in Florida, maybe cig levels do not reach toxic
How do we make this niche market in Florida and other states in SE USA,
with a huge population and demand for seafood?  The fishermen I know in
south FL are divers and are underwater everyday spearing.   They would love
to get the (easy) lionfish but can't sell them.
Plenty divers in FL, both recreational and commercial that would slay
quantities of these fish for financial incentive.  There are competitions
and lionfish roundups but these are infrequent.  A large-scale marketing
campaign might put realistic pressure on this fish needed to help reduce
wild populations.  With no market incentive, divers do not waste their time
slaying lionfish, even though its very easy.  Commercial divers are small
outfits, intimately tuned into their local reefs where they make their
livelihood and could harvest lionfish effectively.
Public demand is finicky and easily swayed, lionfish taste good but the
possibility of ciguatera poisoning will hold back large scale consumption.
 A particularly negative FDA report concerning cig levels in lionfish
halted one major marketing campaign.


Easier cig tests would help individual fishermen determine local rates of
toxicity in fish, hopefully these will be developed soon.
Any reports on cig levels in Curacao at the markets there?  How well does
the fish sell?

Here in Hawaii the roi (Cephalophis argus) was introduced by the state as a
food fish but has attained invasive status and is widely unpopular with
fisherman due to its ciguatera levels.

On Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 8:34 AM, Szmant, Alina <szmanta at uncw.edu> wrote:

> In the local market in Curacao, lion fish sell for 70-80 NaFl / kg while
> local grouper/snapper sell for 30-40 NaFl/kg.  Lionfish are caught
> diving/spearing (more man time) while grouper/snapper are caught hook and
> line or traps.
> *************************************************************************
> Dr. Alina M. Szmant
> Professor of Marine Biology
> Center for Marine Science and Dept of Biology and Marine Biology
> University of North Carolina Wilmington
> 5600 Marvin Moss Ln
> Wilmington NC 28409 USA
> tel:  910-962-2362  fax: 910-962-2410  cell: 910-200-3913
> http://people.uncw.edu/szmanta
> *******************************************************
> -----Original Message-----
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:
> coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Tim Brown - NOAA
> Affiliate
> Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 12:56 PM
> To: andrew ross
> Cc: Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Lion Consumption
> Thats really good news!
> Maybe those lorge predatory fish will develop a taste for them and start
> eating more juveniles.  But the main predator that needs to develop a taste
> for lionfish is a human.  Luckily the human creature is lazy and easily
> swayed by marketing trends and will often consume the easiest food source
> available.  Lionfish has a tasty white flesh but local fish markets are
> loath to purchase from local fishermen because the public is not tuned in
> to this a popular seafood.
> If there was a marketing campaign by a large successful ad firm to tap
> into the human psyche and make this fish a desirable food source then I
> think a demand can be made for this fish.  This may put pressure on the
> burgeoning wild populations of lionfish.
> I know several commercial divers in south florida that could and would
> take heaps of lionfish daily but the local markets they sell to have no
> desire for this fish.
> Seems like a simple solution to help reduce wild lionfish populations and
> provide another seafood protein source for humans that might also ease
> pressure on other target food fish like the native apex predators that may
> also eat the lions.
> .....all we have to do is convince the general population that this a cool
> new trendy food....Anybody know any famous actors or musicians that want to
> campaign???  or an ad company with the concept to sway public opinion?
>  They're a cool looking exotic fish!  marketed properly, they could
> probably command premium prices.
> On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 4:54 AM, andrew ross <andyroo_of72 at yahoo.com>
> wrote:
> > List,
> > I was talking to a friend who's an avid spear-fisherman the other day.
> > He tells me that he has found juv. lionfish in the stomach of large
> > mutton snapper on at least one occasion on the reefs east of Kingston,
> Jamaica.
> > He says others in his crew have also seen in the gut of grouper.
> > Didn't specify species.
> > These are not dead&fed lionfish, it appears to be proper, wild
> > consumption by large predators on juv. lions.
> > A little hint of good news, and all the more reason to keep large fish
> > on the reef.
> > Andrew Ross
> > Seascape Caribbean
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