Through outreach events and messaging, we are starting to see a change in the public’s perception of lionfish as a restaurant item. Our staff works throughout the state to encourage people that lionfish are safe to eat, delicious, and removing them promotes healthier reefs.
If you're serious about starting something, would you be down to chat? My name is Nate by the way ^^.
The logistical challenges with harvesting lionfish make meeting this demand a little harder than with other species. Good sites for large numbers of lionfish require long trips offshore and dives deeper than 100 feet. These are dangerous dives that require a significant amount of training and equipment to successfully complete. Lionfish may also be easy to harvest by spear, but a single sting can end a day of diving. Lionfish are more expensive because the risk and effort required to harvest lionfish is greater than most species.
To decrease the risk and effort in commercially harvesting lionfish, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has several research contracts for lionfish traps currently in development. We hope encouraging the use of an effective trap will increase the supply of lionfish and result in more fishermen targeting lionfish.
I saw you kicking around a lionfishing crew idea -- I'm not a spearer (not even a diver, though getting certified soon) -- but I am a businessman out of Los Angeles with Japanese and Chinese connections. I'm very interested in the expansion of the lionfish market.
When I created this thread, I also reached out to the FWC with my same initial questions. This was their response:
It’s good to hear your enthusiasm for getting lionfish into the market! Your basic idea is right that we are seeing a greater demand than the current supply can meet. There are lots of restaurants willing to sell them and people are showing a growing interest in eating lionfish. In the last year, 231 Saltwater Products License holders had commercial lionfish sales in Florida resulting in the harvest of 116,625 lbs. of lionfish!