If you can’t beat ’em, Eat ’em!


Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park have been aggressive in encouraging visitors to beware of the voracious and poisonous Lionfish in the waters and off the reefs of St. John and the VIs.

There have been public meetings about the threat.  Volunteer divers have sought out the fish, capturing and killing them.

Now the VI government hopes to motivate VI fishermen to catch Lionfish by encouraging local restaurants to put the fish on their menus.  The Fish and Wildlife division of DPNR hopes If there's demand from eateries, then the fisherman may create the supply.

This video clip is from TV2, highlighting Villa Morales which has put Lionfish on the menu.  Frommers calls it "the premier Puerto Rican restaurant on St. Croix."

A favorite part of the report is when the TV2 news person says, "Of course there are concerns that lionfish may not be safe to eat but DPNR say there's nothing to worry about."

4 thoughts on “If you can’t beat ’em, Eat ’em!”

  1. There are plenty of recipes for Lionfish online and supposedly its pretty good eating. If Lionfish eat reef fish which I belive they do, then I’d be more worried about ciguatera than anything else – which is why you shouldn’t eat local reef fish, and I believe ciguatera gets more potent as it travel up the food chain.

  2. Well, if restaurants serve Lion Fish perhaps it will be easier to recognize, unlike grouper & snapper.
    St. John Restaurants Serve Vietnamese $2 buck Catfish, Call It Grouper & Snapper
    Hey, where’s the love in Love City?
    Swai… the mystery fish you never knew you love! Some (a heck of a lot) of restaurants on St. John have the deceitful practice of selling its customers grouper and snapper but actually serving swai (a very inexpensive freshwater, farm raised fish from Asia, namely Vietnam). Swai wholesales for $2.49 per pound verses grouper (an endangered fish in the West Indies by overfishing) with wholesale price ranging from $13 to $18 a pound for fillets. Snapper fillets wholesales for $10 a pound for farm raised to $14 – $15 per pound for wild caught. Popular methods restaurants use for preparing swai include blacken, jerk, fried as in the popular FISH & CHIPS and in tacos, grilled and sautéed…as you can see its very versatile. It’s difficult to tell the difference unless you are a fish expert or do a side by side comparison. (Or DNA testing as you will read in the links below.) The bottom line is, if the snapper / grouper dinner entrée cost less than $30 chances are it’s swai. (However, some scrupulous restaurateurs have pushed the price-point for swai dishes up there). Stick with more easily recognizable fish such as Mahi, Tuna, Sword, Wahoo, a whole snapper (head on) or a New York Strip. Tuna wholesales for around $10 per pound for the loin. So if a restaurant has a tuna dish that costs more than their grouper dish, the grouper is swai, and order the tuna or the cheese burger…. Not the fish & chips… its swai. Price Mart on St. Thomas sells Swai for $2.69 per lb. in their frozen seafood section. Buy and try it… you already like it. Merchant’s Market, which supplies all the “major” restaurants, is the main supplier of swai, but they sell it as swai not grouper or snapper. No crime there. This is not to say that all of our restaurants do this…. Not true at all. But I know for a fact that several very popular restaurants in the low to mid price-point level do. If you are working at a restaurant that sells swai as another fish… please speak up. It’s fraud. We all know that things are tough, but this is consumer fraud and wrong. This has been going on for a very long time. Where is the integrity? Please look at these links to related articles for more info. Do some “fishing” around yourself. I hope this post will help to inform the community and also put a stop to this deceitful criminal practice. This is a fishy tail that needs to be told. Next they will be selling swai as Lion Fish. Copy and send this to your friends.
    Sally Island Girl

  3. If you want them all dead/controlled in local waters put a bounty on them. Allowing them on the menu also helps.

Leave a Comment