Lionfish Is Coming to Supermarkets and Restaurant Menus

Seafood Watch has labeled the fish a “best choice,” indicating it is a sustainable seafood option

Whole Foods is expected to start selling lionfish at West Coast locations in the next six months.

The solution to controlling the environmental impact of lionfish, an invasive species, could be introducing it to mainstream consumption.

Seafood Watch, which rates the sustainability of seafood options, has given lionfish its highest available rating: ‘best choice.’ Whole Foods, which only sells fish that is highly rated by the organization, told Civil Eats that it will begin selling lionfish in its stores in the next six months, beginning with locations on the West Coast.

Justine Burt, a Palo Alto resident, says, “It’s something that needs to be eaten, instead of fish coming from fisheries that are collapsing.”

The only way to remove lionfish from the ecosystem without damaging other species is by spearfishing. Chef Ryan Chadwick, who features lionfish as a central item to his menu, is working on developing a trap to lure lionfish to make it easier to catch.

Ryan Bigelow, outreach program manager for the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, says, “They are such voracious eaters; they will eat just about anything, and because of their poisonous spikes, nothing can really eat them. Once they hit the waters around Florida, there was really no stopping them — they were clearing out reefs.”


Click here to read about an invasive carp species that could completely take over Lake Erie.