COURTESY GW FINS
GW Fins chef and co-owner Tenney Flynn is serving lionfish — an invasive marine species — at his French Quarter restaurant this week.
This week at GW Fins
(808 Bienville St., 504-581-3467), diners can try something new while also promoting a more sustainable Gulf Coast marine environment. Lionfish, considered one of the most invasive marine species in the Gulf of Mexico, are on the menu until supplies run out.
GW Fins chef and co-owner Tenney Flynn started diving and spear fishing for lionfish in Gulf waters several years ago and quickly became a vocal and avid supporter of the cause. This last weekend he brought back 140 pounds of the species while attending the Reef Rangers Lionfish Awareness and Removal
fishing rodeo in Pensacola, Florida.
Though a nuisance to the marine environment, the spiny fish are considered a delicacy by many, with a white and flaky texture similar to grouper.
“They’re a pretty delicate fish,” Flynn says, adding that preparations for the fish include ceviche with red grapefruit and chilies, a whole fried version served with a Vietnamese-style glaze and crispy noodle salad, peanuts and vegetables, and sauteed lionfish with a sweet corn and crab broth, fava beans, corn and lump crabmeat.
Lionfish originated in the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea and are not native to the Gulf of Mexico, but the population has exploded in the past five years while the predator wreaks havoc on marine ecosystems.
The fish are very difficult to harvest through any method other than spear fishing. While programs to help eradicate booming lionfish populations exist in Florida and other Gulf Coast states, no bounty or incentive program related to lionfish eradication exists in Louisiana.
“All of those fish can eat two dozen or so small groupers or snappers in a setting,” Flynn said. “They eat everything. We’re their only predator, and we can’t ignore them.
Last weekend’s supply of Lionfish will be on the menu for the remainder of the week, or until the fish runs out.
For more information, visit www.gwfins.com.