Another Invasive Lionfish becomes delicious ceveche!
The Indo-Pacific Lionfish is an invasive species to the Meso-American Barrier Reef System, the reef that we monitor here at GVI Pez Maya Base. There are two species present (Pterois miles and Pterois volitans). With virtually no natural predators, and reproduction rate of up to 30,000 eggs every 4-5 days it plays a significant and detrimental role in the local environment. When present there is a reduction in fish recruitment of indigenous species of up to 75%.
On our base we record details of all lionfish sightings and, when time allows around research, staff spear fish to remove them from the sites. In this three month period, we have seen 91 lionfish on our dives on base. One of our interns Sam is very passionate about the lionfish problem, and worked hard during his time here to develop a training program for safe, humane and effective lionfish spearing using his research skills and knowledge from our staff.
After developing this program, he then went on a successful lionfish hunt under the supervision of an experienced staff member and his internship mentor. He speared a 22cm lionfish which was then dissected to examine its stomach contents. It was a female who had eaten a crab and an unidentifiable small fish, and was full of eggs ready to become more invasive lionfish.
Despite having poison spines, the flesh of the lionfish is both eatable and very delicious. After the dissection we filleted the lionfish and Sam then brought his project to a fantasticeclose by making us lionfish ceviche, a fantastic dish where the fish flesh is “cooked” cold in lime juice with chopped tomatoes onions and cilantro.
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