Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark
Pure Aquariums
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A red lionfish is both beauty and beast. Its gorgeous-but-deadly spines have rendered it practically predator-free. Luckily, it is also tasty.

Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark
Pure Aquariums
The Plate

Lionfish May Finally Meet Its Match: The Seafood Aisle

A major U.S. grocery chain is now selling the invasive yet delicious fish that has tormented Florida's coastal waters for three decades.

Efforts to eradicate the invasive lionfish are finally getting a seat at the big kids’ table: Whole Foods markets announced last week it will offer lionfish for sale (sans venomous spines) in its Florida seafood departments. The “white, buttery meat” is perfect for everything from sauté to ceviche.

Lionfish, native to the Indian and South Pacific Oceans, are supermodel gorgeous and supervillain deadly. They lack natural predators, crowd out native fish, and breed like crazy wherever they go. Luckily, they are also delicious.

One way to control their population—females can produce two million eggs in a year—says Erin Spencer, a National Geographic young explorer—is to eat them.

For divers off the coast of the southeastern U.S., where they have been spotted since the late 1980s, they have been irresistible to hunt. But beware those venomous spines. If they get you, they won’t kill you, but you’ll wish you were dead, Spencer says.

Take a look at our video to see how divers and a Florida restaurant are turning these bad boys into delicious delicacies.

How Eating Venomous Lionfish Helps the Environment

Watch how divers and a restaurant in Florida are turning the venomous and invasive lionfish into an appetizing entrée.