WASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- Whole Foods stores in Florida are offering shoppers the opportunity to purchase nonnative lionfish, which pose a threat to the state's local reefs.
Lionfish have wreaked havoc on Florida's reefs by competing with native species for food while reproducing at rapid rates.
The invasive fish are without many natural predators due to their 18 venomous spines, but the grocery chain will provide their seafood staff with special training to remove their spines to negate the poison.
"Once caught and placed on ice, the lionfish physically cannot release venom from the gland, ensuring safe consumption for shoppers," Whole Foods said in a release.
The fish will sell for $8.99 per pound through May 31 before the price is raised to $9.99 per pound starting June 1.