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Whole Foods Selling Lionfish in Florida, Where It's Invasive Species

Image: Whole Foods Selling Lionfish in Florida, Where It's Invasive Species
(Jacek Golonka/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 27 May 2016 10:41 AM

Whole Foods Market is now selling lionfish in the seafood departments of its 26 Florida stores.

Offering the invasive fish species for consumption is "part of the solution to protecting the surrounding waterways and its inhabitants – all while providing an alternative, affordable and delicious seafood option," the company said in a release via WWSB-TV.

The company began selling lionfish Wednesday for an introductory price of $8.99 per pound, which will be raised to $9.99 per pound next month. Trained employees remove the venomous spines.

"Once caught and placed on ice, the lionfish physically cannot release venom from the gland, ensuring safe consumption for shoppers," the release said.

The fish is easy to prepare and has a mild flavor, according to a Twitter post from Whole Foods Orlando.



As a food, lionfish are similar to halibut or grouper, according to The Sun-Sentinel. But in the environment, the non-native species is harmful to native marine life and habitat.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission encourages the removal of lionfish, whose numbers have increased rapidly since first being reported off Florida's Atlantic Coast in 1985.

"Lionfish are a predatory reef fish," the FWC said on its website. "They eat native fish, which can reduce native populations and have negative effects on the overall reef habitat and health as they can eliminate species that serve important ecological roles such as fish that keep algae in check on the reefs. Lionfish also compete for food with native predatory fish such as grouper and snapper."

Twitter users shared a variety of reactions to the new product.






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Whole Foods Market is now selling lionfish in the seafood departments of its 26 Florida stores.
whole foods, selling, lionfish, florida
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2016-41-27
Friday, 27 May 2016 10:41 AM
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