Monday, March 7, 2011
Al Gore can bite me.
But after reading an article on Yahoo! News (slogan: Cyber-space's Answer to the National Enquirer) about a recent crisis in Florida, I feel compelled to speak up on behalf of the entire Animal Kingdom. Because apparently, lionfish are taking over the world.
According to the article, the lionfish population has been exploding in Caribbean and Atlantic waters, causing major destruction such as preying on the local fish, shrimp, and crab populations in coral reefs. Not only that, but particularly malicious lionfish have gone so far as to spray paint graffiti on the reefs and commit other random acts of oceanic vandalism. Things have gotten so far out of hand some scientists are now listing the invasive lionfish species as among the top fifteen threats to global biodiversity. I don't know what that means, but it sounds pretty bad.
You're probably asking yourself at this point how the lionfish were introduced into Florida waters in the first place. According to U.S. government researchers, who seem to have an answer for everything, the red lionfish made their Floridian debut during Hurricane Andrew when -- this is true -- an aquarium broke and six fish spilled into Miami's Biscayne Bay.
That's right, six fish. And we're at DEFCON 1 on the Lionfish Threat Scale. Even assuming that the gender breakdown of the six initial lionfish was three male and three female, it seems like it would take an awful lot of undersea boinking to create a population large enough to mess with global biodiversity (again, whatever that is).
But not to worry.
A Key Largo-based conservation group Reef Environmental Education Foundation (motto: We Don't Care What Our Name is, As Long As the Acronym is "REEF"), has bravely solved the lionfish problem by releasing "The Lionfish Cookbook," a collection of forty-five recipes. According to Lad Akins, director of special projects for REEF, "Lionfish are absolutely good eating -- a delicacy. It's delicately flavored white meat, very buttery, especially if you put lots of butter on it." The cookbook is but the first step in Akins's plan to make human beings the top predator of the invading lionfish. After releasing the cookbook and extolling the culinary wonder of lionfish meat, Akins went on to say, "And not only are lionfish tasty, they've also been talking a lot of trash about humans as a species. They said we're a bunch of lazy narcissists that think we own the planet. And our mama is so fat she could carry a 15-pound Ebonite bowling ball in her belly button."
A word of caution, though. Akins says the fish can be netted, speared or caught by rod and reel, but he recommends handling them with puncture-proof gloves to avoid a painful prick (fill in your own joke here) from the lionfish's -- and I'm quoting him directly -- "venomous spines."
Now I will be the first to admit that I'm no master chef, but once I come across the recipe instruction that reads, "first remove the venomous spines," lionfish is no longer on the evening's menu. I'm going with a simpler and non-lethal alternative such as meatloaf. Akins argues that lionfish meat is safe to eat and actually contains no venom because "the venom is only in the spines." To me, it seems like the man doth protesteth too much. His hatred for the lionfish seems so intense that I'm starting to question the guy's motives. Did Akins's wife run off with a particularly attractive and debonair lionfish who tempted her with his "venomous spine of love?" Did a school of lionfish discredit his doctoral dissertation by refusing to migrate to warmer waters during the winter equinox? Surely he's not getting this worked up just because they're going after crabs and shrimp.
So my advice is to ignore the psychotic, vengeful ramblings of Lad Akins and leave the innocent lionfish alone. Stick with the more palatable tuna, lobster, or butterfly shrimp.
If you want, I'll even send you my recipe for meatloaf.