Sunday 24 May, 2020

St Lucia resorts serve lionfish as 'conservation cuisine'

A popular St Lucian resort company is stepping up the offensive against the invasive lionfish by adapting it for its menu, nicknamed 'conservation cuisine'.

According to St Lucia News online, Karolin Troubetzkoy, executive director of well-known resorts Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet, together with her culinary team launched a “conservation cuisine” initiative which prepares the lionfish as a delicacy.

“It is not much of a stretch,” declared Troubetzkoy. “Lionfish is a white flaky, but firm, fish with a flavor between grouper and mahi-mahi.”

To ensure diners get to try as many takes on the fish as possible, Troubetzkoy said a multi-course menu will be served, featuring the delicious fish.

"We are serving a multi-course dégustation menu with paired New World wines, in which we showcase the quality and taste of this very unique fish.”

Diners, seated at a romantic beachside candlelit restaurant, are served lionfish as pure sashimi, citrus ceviche wrapped in a crispy tortilla, and either grilled or stewed with the flavors of St. Lucia.

“It is always delicious and a very special dinner experience prepared by our best passionate chefs and sommeliers,” she said.

And for the diving enthusiasts, the resorts’ scuba operation Scuba St. Lucia has introduced PADI’s “Invasive Lionfish Tracker Specialty Course”, which takes guests on two dives to learn about controlling the invasive lionfish population and discover practical methods for humanely capturing and euthanising these fish.

Lionfish reach adult size at about two years old, and it’s safe to say they won’t get anywhere near the endangered species list because a female lionfish can release between 10,000 and 30,000 unfertilized eggs every four days, or about two million eggs per year.

“So, bon appétit and save our seas!” Troubetzkoy quipped.

Lionfish is one of the most destructive invasive fish species ever to reach the Caribbean, are wreaking irreparable damage on coral reefs by eating practically everything they come across.

In fact, a lionfish’s stomach can expand up to 30 times its normal size.

Lionfish cause direct or indirect damage to coral reefs, sea grasses and mangroves, due to their high rate of reproduction and growth, its voracious feeding capacity and lack of predators.

Other islands which serve lionfish include the Bahamas, Barbados, Aruba, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic and Nevis.

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