What if you could help save the planet by doing something you already love? Lionfish have taken over areas of coral reef and are decimating the fish populations that keep the coral healthy. Luckily, there’s an easy way you can start to help out: these little invaders are pretty tasty on tacos.

Who knew your love for food could actually help save millions of lives? Read on to learn more about why putting these venomous fish on your dinner plate will keep the coral and the creatures that call it home, healthy!

Image: Lionfish staring at the camera with their spines billowing out the side

Source: Pixabay

Lionfish are quite the creatures to behold. They have large venomous plumes of spikes covering their body that will blow your hand up like a balloon if you touch them, and an absolutely voracious appetite that competes with my own. Because of both of these traits, they’ve been single-fin-edly killing off coral reef systems in places that they were never meant to be for years.

Yes, somehow, these fish have made their way into the Atlantic Ocean where they have no natural predators and it’s having a devastating impact on native fish populations. Those venomous spikes that cover their bodies make them difficult for predators outside of the Indo-Pacific to figure out how to eat. So they’re taking this opportunity to expand their populations and snack as they wish.

To combat these spiny travelers, authorities have made it a point to remove fishing bans on lionfish to encourage people to capture them in masses. But these fish don’t bite. Meaning, they can’t be caught on a hook. So if we want to catch lionfish and reduce their populations, we have to use a spear.

This isn’t a problem that we need fancy technology for right now. This is something that we can help tackle with a super low tech tool and our stomachs!

AJ+ recently released an awesome video that explains the problem in more detail, shows the spearfishing in action, and demonstrates how to prepare a venomous fish for dinner! (The way they react to the recipes makes it seem like saving the planet is actually super tasty.)

Via: AJ+ 1

See more amazing content from AJ+ by visiting their YouTube channel! You can also keep up to date with all of their work by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

People are also getting creative with the spines of the lionfish — they’re great for jewelry! For more information on how they’re creating beautiful pieces check out this minute long video with a step-by-step. And this video from National Geographic gives us more of the backstory and the impact this jewelry is having on families.

Sustainable eating?

Using our love of consumption for good!

Eating has always been a way of balancing out populations — that’s why apex predators are so important to ecosystems. Everyone has a natural enemy to keep them in check, even bacteria. And it’s when those natural predators aren’t around that things begin to get a bit out of control.

To put this in perspective, how did you act when your parents were out for the night? Did you do everything that they want you to do perfectly? Or did you take the chance to go a little crazy? Say, eat all the junk food you wanted, drank soda from the bottle, or maybe, invited a few friends over?

When there isn’t someone keeping us in check, we tend to fall into excess. That’s how we get a single fish decimating other fish populations and reproducing wildly without any problem.

Widening Circles!

But if we just took a little more thought about the impact of what we choose to eat, that can really have a big effect!

See more ways we can eat our way to a healthier world in these two articles from our library:

25 minutes

Are Sea-Greens the New Superfood?

The benefits of kelp farming are too extensive to list in full here (but one of the most important may just be that it's cleaning the ocean—naturally.)

Read More

15 minutes

Should We All Be Eating Insects?

We know it's a reach, but the best innovations always are! Insect protein takes fewer resources to produce, has all of the amino acids we need, and can be pretty tasty. Are bugs the food of the future? Let's risk knowing more...

Read More

And if you’d like to learn a little more about the coral they’re impacting, check out this article:

9 minutes

Why Are Coral Stressed About Current Events?

We know that coral is beautiful and that it's in danger, but what exactly is coral? Learning about these complex creatures helps us understand how to work to save and preserve them for the next generations!

Read More

Have you ever tried lionfish? How was it? I’m curious! Send me an email at [email protected]

Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” — Albert Einstein

How else can we eat sustainably?

Share your ideas with us — and the whole EWC community — on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram! Use the #itsstillanamazingworld in your post and tag us to connect!


  1. “I Found A TASTY Way To Save Coral Reefs | AJ+.” YouTube, AJ+, 5 May 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN49R7LczLc&feature=youtu.be. Accessed 8 May 2019.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.