The Department of Environment said there’s a lionfish exception to just about every rule in its draft species conservation plan for fish.
The DOE said fighting the long-spined invasive predator is a priority, and it t wants to encourage more people to catch and eat, and even sell the tasty fish commercially.
The DOE said demand for lionfish in restaurants is on the rise, and that monetizing the pest fish can help keep numbers in check.
“Everybody knows lionfish are terrible on the reef, they eat anything they can fit in their mouth, which is a lot, but particularly any small juvenile fish, any little shrimp, little crabs, so you know if they find any baby lobsters they will be yummin’ them down as well,” said John Bothwell, DOE Sr. Research Officer.
The draft fish conservation plan also protects a tiny fish that can only be found in our waters. It’ s called the Y-lined blenny, and it’s just a couple of inches long.