Recently I was in the Bahamas. Speaking with locals and with our crew I came to discover that the Lionfish, an invasive and venomous non native species, is literally taking over reef systems in the region. This was news to me.
The question is, what to do with the Lionfish?
Create a market for them. While this may sound crazy the Lionfish just could become the answer to shark fin soup. The only thing holding this success story back is a strong and coherent marketing effort.
All the elements are there for marketing this critter to Asia in big numbers. These animals grow quickly, they have no natural predators (that survive) they are extremely poisonous and they are also known as the Dragonfish.
Think the Asian delicacy Fugu crossed with sea urchin eggs and you get the picture. This animals preparation is easier then Fugu, and it tastes great. Cultural food sources are a tough nut to crack, and many forward thinking NGO's like Wild Aid are making great strides in changing peoples perception.
While markets still exisit - there will always be demand. Let's start looking outside the standard paradigms of fisheries resources and use and create viable markets for critters who invasive qualities demand the kind of predation that nature cannot provide. The Lionfish example is without a doubt one of the best ideas to come along in a long while. The only thing stopping this from happening is imagination.
Image Hat Tip: Todd Gardner, Atlantis Marine World, Riverhead, NY
Patric Douglas CEO