The “Plague” of Lionfish invading the Caribbean and Florida continues. One of the latest solutions to at least control their populations has been to popularize the Caribbean Lionfish as a target for spearfishers and haute cuisine for your dinnerplate! To quote marine aquarium author Matthew L. Wittenrich, fresh back from a trip to the Caribbean to assess the situation; “Humans have truly proved throughout history that the way to eradication (or extinction) is through exploitation.” I (and many others) have been saying it for a couple years now…why aren’t we collecting these guys like crazy and selling them into the aquarium trade?!
Well, the wait is over. I saw my first Carribean Lionfish at Old Orchard Aquarium in Skokie, IL a few months ago. Just a few weeks ago, I noticed that “Diver Tom” of Tom’s Caribbean Tropicals is now listing Caribbean Lionfish for sale, online, direct to your door. With asking prices ranging from $20 for a small Carribean Lionfish to $40 for a large Carribean Lionfish (+ shipping of course), anyone who just wants a “Lionfish” now has a better alternative than a wild caught one from the Indo-Pacific. Of course, this author is left wondering why the photograph and species listing from Diver Tom lists these fish as Pterois radiata and P. antennata vs. the species that are known to be taking over the reefs (P. miles / P. volitans). Of course, it’s a Lionfish being removed from the Caribbean…do you really care exactly which species it is so long as it’s OFF THE REEF?!
So help deal with the problem in our home waters and TAKE an invasive species off our reefs. Admittedly, while the one-fish-at-a-time approach may largely be a feel-good victory rather than anything substantial, it is still a more responsible choice if all you’re really looking for is a good ‘ole generic Lionfish! You can find the Caribbean Lionfish in the “All Other Fish” section of the DiverTom.com website.