Lionfish: The Other White Meat

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

The Lionfish are invading! No, it’s not the tag line from a bad sci-fi movie, it’s what scientists around the Caribbean have been saying for years. The Lionfish invasion is so destructive because they eat everything in sight and have very few predators, leaving only humans to control their populations. The only hope of reducing the number of lionfish is to create a demand for them at the dinner table.

Most of the world’s edible fish species are severely overfished. Lionfish is the perfect way to still enjoy fish while avoiding the guilt associated with eating species such as grouper, snapper, and other reef fish. Though lionfish are venomous, the toxin is in the spines, not the meat. If stabbed, the venom is not fatal but will cause pain and swelling near the wound. There are several methods to safely filet a lionfish. The easiest technique is to cut off the dorsal and pectoral spines using scissors. Once the spines are removed, lionfish can be safely and easily prepared like any other fish. Another way is to freeze the entire fish for 2 hours to neutralize the venomous spines.

Lionfish are tasty, with white, delicate, and flakey meat. They are a perfect substitute for grouper and are a completely sustainable and guilt-free fish to eat. There are even Lionfish cookbooks, containing recipes to use the meat in every conceivable way. Most of the recipes can also be found free online. Perhaps the most tasty and popular dish is lionfish ceviche. Other popular ways to cook lionfish include sautéing with garlic and butter or frying. Some people even use it in sushi. So do your part to protect Roatan’s reef by eating lionfish.

The Roatan Marine Park has created a television and radio public service announcement to inform people about the benefits of eating lionfish and how to safely clean them. We will also be visiting the local communities to perform demonstrations on how to cook and clean lionfish.

Alternatives to toxic products used in the house

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

We know that poorly treated sewage harms coral reefs. However, we know little about the effects of the various toxic products we routinely pour down the drain on the biology of most coral reef creatures. The lack of scientific attention to this problem, given its enormity, is particularly troubling as we are quietly but continuously poisoning many of them. Consider the following alternatives to toxic cleaning products. Not only are they more environmentally friendly, but they are often cheaper too! Below are the commonly used products and the eco-friendly alternatives

Detergent & Soap                   Elbow grease

Bleach                                        Hydrogen peroxide

Scouring Powders                Baking soda or salt

Floor Cleaner                         One cup white vinegar in 2 gallons water

Window Cleaner                    One cup vinegar in 1-quart warm water, rinse & squeegee

Varnish Cleaner                    Wipe with ½ cup vinegar & ½ cup water mixed

Toilet Cleaner                        Baking soda & brush

Shower Cleaner                     Wet surface, sprinkle baking soda, rub with scouring cloth

Aluminium Cleaner             2 Tablespoons cream of tartar in 1-quart hot water

Chrome Cleaner/Polish     Apple cider vinegar to clean, baby oil to polish

Fibreglass Stain Remover   Baking soda paste

Drain Opener                         Disassemble & replace; do not use toxic substances

Mildew Remover                 Paste using equal parts of lemon juice & salt

Wood Polish                          3 parts olive oil & 1 part white vinegar, almond or olive oil (interior unvarnished wood only)