How to eat a lionfish

How to eat a lionfish

Because lionfish are a new phenomenon in the USVI, there is no local history or tradition surrounding this species. There are no family recipes. No stories. No memories. 

Instead, there is an aversion to and fear of lionfish.

Here are the facts that can help overcome an unease of consuming this species:

  • Their fillets are light and non-fishy tasting, similar to grouper or hind.
  • This invasive species is damaging to our reefs, but not to us.
  • Lionfish have no more potential for ciguatera than other reef fish.
  • In the wild, lionfish can grow to be quite large since they have no natural predators in this region; this translates into a tasty dinner-plate sized meal.
  • Their spines are venomous. The flesh is not.

The video below explains in detail how to safely clean a lionfish, what to look out for and perhaps, most importantly, what to do if you are "stung". We do recommend using a pair of gloves for an additional level of precaution.

Skipping ahead and start the video at 1:16.

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Jahson Alemu & Fadilah Ali explain how to safely remove the venomous fins from the Lionfish for preparation to cook. Produced in conjunction with Papa Bois Conservation.


Ask your local fishermen for lionfish so you can try these recipes Chefs Mark Davis & Byron Harrigan, our friends from St. Croix, have generously shared with us. Bon apetite! 

Blackened Lionfish Recipe courtesy of Chef Byron and Chef Mark

Quick-Cured Lionfish Recipe courtesy of Chef Byron and Chef Mark