[Coral-List] Lion Consumption

Mcguire,Maia Patterson mpmcg at ufl.edu
Thu Jan 24 08:40:57 EST 2013

In the US Virgin Islands, where ciguatera is prevalent, the local fishermen apparently don't keep lionfish--they kill them and toss them back. Researchers there have reportedly found fairly high levels of ciguatoxin in lionfish, but I have not been able to find out if the proportion of lionfish that are ciguatoxic is similar to that of other predators or not. I think the biggest issue with lionfish and ciguatera (in those areas where ciguatera IS know to be an issue) is that we don't have local institutional knowledge about what size fish is safe (which we do tend to have for other species known to be ciguatoxic) simply because they haven't been around the system for long enough for us to glean that info...The other potential issue could be if lionfish (meat) starts being exported/imported from one region to another so consumers end up not knowing the source of the fish... We're not there yet, but if demand does grow, it could happen...

Maia McGuire, PhD
Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent
150 Sawgrass Road
Bunnell, FL 32110


Educational videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/IFASCDistrict

From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml..noaa.gov] on behalf of Liz Schotman [lizms2 at gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 7:40 PM
To: Craig G. Lilyestrom
Cc: Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Lion Consumption

I work as a fisheries biologist in the middle and upper Florida Keys, and
at least two fish houses have begun to purchase lionfish from fishermen
here, paying between $3.00-$6.00/lb. Most of the fish are coming out of
deep water lobster traps (150+ ft). There was some coconut telegraph style
rumors going around about possible ciguatera poisoning from one of these
restaurants, which turned out to be unfounded. As a top predator, lionfish
are definitely capable of attaining toxic levels of cig, however, I
question how they would somehow be more likely to become toxic than other
local predators. In the Keys, we have very little ciguatera incidences, so
I encourage people to eat the heck out of them. In other regions where cig
is more prevalent, I would be more hesitant to encourage their consumption.

If anyone is curious, lionfish is very similar to hogfish - very white,
soft, no real bloodline. Very easy to kill. Commercial divers should
definitely kill them on sight, if only to benefit the health of the
ecosystem they depend on.

On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 9:05 AM, Craig G. Lilyestrom <craig at caribe.net>wrote:

> The question I would pose to the group is if there is any reason to
> believe that Lionfish would be any more likely to be ciguatoxic than any
> other predatory reef fish in the same habitat. I'm curious about the
> emphasis on lionfish and ciguatera when literally thousands have been
> consumed in Puerto Rico (at least) with not a single reported case of
> ciguatera in the last 3 years.
> Sent from my iPhone 4s
> On Jan 22, 2013, at 4:22 PM, Steve LeGore <slegore at mindspring.com> wrote:
> > I still think it should be touted to tourists as an aphrodisiac.  It is,
> after all, the LIONfish, and just look at that plumage!
> >
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Tim Brown - NOAA Affiliate <tim.brown at noaa.gov>
> >> Sent: Jan 22, 2013 12:55 PM
> >> To: andrew ross <andyroo_of72 at yahoo.com>
> >> 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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> >
> >
> > Steve LeGore, Ph.D.
> > LeGore Environmental Associates, Inc.
> > 2804 Gulf Drive N.
> > Holmes Beach, Florida 34217 USA
> > Tel: 941/778-4650
> > Fax: 941/778-4761
> > Cell: 941/447-8010
> > GMT - 4 hrs
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Liz Schotman
(904) 861-8322

"You got to bend a little, one way or another, you've got to leave your
mind open to discover"

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