Friday, July 5, 2013

The Problem of "Under-fishing"

We've all heard about problems of over-fishing, harvesting (delicious) fish stocks almost to or beyond the point of population collapse and extinction. It turns out, fishing is not only a threat to fish but a possible solution to the problem of invasive species that are decimating other fish in the process. A point in fact: the Lion Fish, a prolific and poisonous fish with a voracious appetite, which is experiencing a population and habitat explosion up and down the East Coast of the US, into the Caribbean, and all along the Gulf of Mexico (see here).

Scientists have struggled to find a way to stem the invasion of the Lion Fish, which lay as may as 30,000 eggs every four days (see here). But the answer is obvious: humans are fully capable of over-fishing the edible species to more manageable levels. Cooked to 400 degrees, the Lion Fish is rendered non-toxic and delectable (see photo below).

We just need an aggressive marketing campaign to get people to demand Lion Fish at their local eateries. That shouldn't be a problem. After all, lobster, monkfish and Chilean sea bass (a.k.a., Patagonian toothfish) all used to be considered "trash fish," fit only for serving to prisoners. The history of the seafood industry is one of over-fishing preferred species, followed by aggressive marketing of (relative) "trash" fish, which then become the new in-demand delicacies. Monkfish that used to be thrown back as an unwanted by-catch now fetch $9-13/pound at the fish monger (see here). It should be a cinch for marketers to sell the very cool-looking Lion Fish as a sustainable food source.

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