How to Fillet a Lionfish

Lionfish have a negative impact on the native wildlife and habitat of the American East Coast and Caribbean coral reefs. You can help control the population by removing them from waters whenever possible.

Lionfish have venomous spines, so use care when filleting so that you don’t get stuck, but the meat does not have poison in it and is often eaten and served in restaurants. Some compare this flaky and tasty fish’s flavor to that of the popular hogfish.

Time needed: 2 minutes

How to Fillet a Lionfish

  1. Locate and avoid the poisonous spines

    The Lionfish has 18 spines that are venomous. 13 spines on the dorsal fin, 2 spines on the pelvic fins and 3 spines on the anal fin.

  2. Make a cut behind the pectoral fin.

    Hold the fish by the pectoral fin, there are no venomous spines in it. Make a cut behind the pectoral fin and the body. Then turn your knife and cut along the bone to the bottom of the fish. Besure to leave a small amount attached.

  3. Cut the meat from the skin

    Flip the meat over and cut along the skin to remove the meat from the fish. Cut any remaining bones off the meat and you have a fillet of Lionfish.

Where Do Lionfish Come From?

Pterois is a genus of venomous marine fish, commonly known as lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific region. It is characterized by conspicuous warning colors with red, white, creamy, or black bands, showy pectoral fins, and venomous spiky fin rays.

The Pterois Volitans, and Pterois Miles species are recent and significant invasive species in the west Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. Arriving in the US and Caribbean as aquarium pets, they were released by humans who did not want them anymore.

When viewed from the right angle, the ornate fins of the lionfish resemble turkey plumage. That’s why ‘turkeyfish’ is one of the many imaginative names people use when referring to the lionfish. Depending on where you live, you may also hear the lionfish called a devilfish, red lionfish, scorpion-cod, zebrafish, ornate butterfly-cod, featherfins, butterfly cod, Indian turkeyfish, soldier lionfish, or poisson scorpion!

Ships Cook Delicious Diana

Hi, my name is Diana. I am the Ships Cook and Editor for the Food section of Postcards from the Edge. I write the recipes, cook and bake some of the recipes of my favorite foods. You will find desserts and all kinds of different dishes featured on this page. I also write reviews of restaurants in the many places I have traveled. I am a well-rounded cook, having spent time in the Wind River Mountains as a horseback guide, Nothing like cooking food over a fire to make a memorable meal for a guest. I love to entertain small groups of people and treat them to some of my favorite dishes.

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