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15 animals making headlines

lionfish

Photo: ZUMA Press

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Lionfish

Residents of the Caribbean, Mexico and U.S. are digging in to creative new dishes like lionfish nachos — and they’re doing it for the planet. Lionfish, a prickly predator with spines like a lion’s mane, are native to the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, but they’re invading Caribbean and Atlantic waters and wreaking havoc on the marine environment. In fact, some scientists list this invasive species among the top threats to global biodiversity. The fish have few natural predators and have been rapidly expanding, preying on local fish, shrimp and crab populations. Conservationists are encouraging people to eat the fish, and many seafood restaurants are adding the whitefish to their menus. The REEF environmental organization even released “The Lionfish Cookbook,” which features a collection of 45 recipes.