Diners urged to eat invasive sea life

July 10, 2011 at 11:42 AM
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NEW YORK, July 10 (UPI) -- A new approach to containing invasive aquatic species is gaining favor: Eating them.

From the lionfish ravaging reefs off Florida to the Asian carp advancing toward the Great Lakes, exotic creatures are devouring and outcompeting native ones, disrupting ecosystems.

"Humans are the most ubiquitous predators on earth," Philip Kramer, director of the Caribbean program for the Nature Conservancy, told The New York Times. "Instead of eating something like shark fin soup, why not eat a species that is causing harm, and with your meal make a positive contribution?"

"We think there could be a real market," said Wenonah Hauter of Food and Water Watch, whose Smart Seafood Guide, for the first time this year, recommends invasive species as a "safer, more sustainable" alternative.

But few restaurant menus feature lionfish, Asian carp or European green crab.

"What these species need now is a better, sexier profile, and more cooks who know how to use them," Hauter said.

Food and Water Watch has joined with the James Beard Foundation and Kerry Heffernan, chef at the South Gate restaurant in New York City, to devise recipes for Asian carp ceviche and braised lionfish filet in brown butter sauce.

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