Let me introduce you to the subject of today’s blog:
I had never heard of the “majestic” Lionfish until my friend Priya told me about them. I was pretty horrified at first because the way she introduced them to by telling me that her work (as a SCUBA divemaster) instructed her and her colleges to try to kill as many of these fish as they can when they’re out on their dives. Not catch them. Kill them. Stab them in their beady little fucking eyes and let them bleed out. Maybe lean in and whisper through a haze of bubbles into their ear. While they do you can shake them and say “Look at me… look at me… I DID THIS TO YOU”. Achem. I was disturbed to say the least when I found out about it, but on further inspection I’m getting swayed to the “Lets blindly murder them” side.
One of the things that’s been curious to me since starting this project is the sustainability of eating animals. If the average person wolfs down a chicken breast every couple days we’re talking about needing 100 or so chickens a year. I imagine in a farm setting you’ld split one bird for your family but that’s still crazy to image. In David Saffran Foer’s book “Eating Animals” he discusses the ecological damages that can be done by a lot of the fishing we do. All of this started to get under my skin, and then I read that the female lionfish can release 2 million eggs per year. If 10% reach maturity, and 50% of those are female. As it takes 2 years to reach maturity, this means after 2 years one female lionfish will have produced 10 thousand mature female lionfish. They’ll repeat the process and in another 2 years she will have been responsible for 10 billion, and 2 years later, 10 quadrillion FEMALES. I’m not making that number up, literally a 1 with 15 zeroes after it. A quadrillion. That my friends, is a whole lot of egg salad.
So these Lionfish have migrated into the carribeanish areas off the coasts of Florida and Central America, where they’ve started hanging out in reefs. The only problem? Turns out they don’t have any predators there because of their GIANT FUCKING POISONOUS SPINES. As a result you’ve got an exponentially growing population of fish that are devouring everything around them and nothing is killing them. Except for Priya.
There’s a catch to that of course, see it turns out the Lionfish dont LIKE being killed, and while their venom isn’t fatal to human’s, neither is it comfortable. Turns out even after hours of excruciating pain and morphine, one of their stings still doesn’t look so pretty:
As a response to the growing population of Lionfish, the United States National Ocean Service has started a new policy that I 100% get behind. They want us American’s to start eating more Lionfish. No Seriously.It turns out once you remove the horrible poisonous spines from them, the rest of their meat is perfectly edible. So for the sake of Priya’s hands, we should all start ordering up some Lionfish and see if we can’t make the world a little bit of a better place by devouring some of its inhabitants.*
I don’t really know where or how I can start devouring Lionfish, but as I’ve heard plenty of Vegitarians throughout my life say “If you don’t eat meat you’ll decrease the demand for it”, I suppose the people at NOAA believe that the opposite is true as well. I think it’s a fascinating idea and while I’m a bit dubious of it’s ability to work, I feel like the alternative is bringing in some kind of sharkmonkey that we’ve trained to eat them… and I know how that movie ends.
*Note: To any alien species currently reading my blog, please do not apply this logic to humankind. Thanks!