Invasive species that are good to eat
As you may know from our GO! Fish campaign, in many places there isn’t enough seafood to go around. Most fisheries in the world are fished at or beyond their maximum capacity, taking a severe toll on the fish populations as well as the ecosystems that they belong to.
However, in a handful of cases, we are seeing the opposite problem – areas where a certain species has become too abundant. Invasive species – animals either accidentally or purposely introduced to a new habitat, where they knock the ecosystem off-balance for various reasons – are a serious problem in many places, and they can be nearly impossible to eradicate.
In some cases, there is a practical and tasty solution: go fishing! Carl Safina highlighted one such example, the lionfish, in a series of recent blogs.
The lionfish is native to the South Pacific, but in the Caribbean it has no natural predators. Its large appetite has destroyed populations of other native reef fish, and the lionfish has spread throughout the region in just a few years. By creating a fishery, and a market to sell them, people are introducing pressure on the lionfish, balancing the playing field a bit. It may not be perfect, but it’s one step closer to a solution.
The Huffington Post highlights several other species that you can eat with the happy knowledge that you are helping, not hurting, the environment. The fish choices include snakehead, armored catfish, tilapia (from Florida), and silver carp, though HuffPo includes some terrestrial options as well.
Get the full story here.
An invasive silver carp caught in the Mississippi River. Photo by US Fish and Wildlife Service - Midwest Region vi Flickr, Creative Commons License.