Invasive species spread like a plague on nonnative habitats, disrupting ecosystems, jeopardizing native wildlife, and in extreme cases endangering human lives. Most control efforts have been fraught with difficulty due to the prolific nature of the pests.
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One proposed solution to curtailing the spread of particularly populous invasive species, purported to be an economic incentive to their eradication, would be to put them on the dinner menu. Many invasive aquatic species in North America, such as Asian green crabs, lionfish, and red swamp crayfish, are in fact edible, and proponents suggest fostering a high demand for them as food.
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At first glance, fishing for invaders might seem a good way to solve two problems at once. Most invasive species lack any natural predators in areas where they have been introduced; actively eating invasive species supplements and bolsters active control efforts, keeping their numbers in check or, in the best cases, outright extirpating them from a locality.
The method is not spared criticisms. Critics argue that sufficient demand would encourage the maintenance of a sustainable population of the invasive species, defeating their conservation purpose.
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Regardless of the outcome, invasive species have found themselves on the dinner plate more than once. Time will tell if lionfish would still be here to stay if they were entrees.
Headed by Brian Eliason, Northern Fisheries is a wholesale and retail distributor that imports and exports quality seafood. Visit this website for more on the company and its selection of fish and shellfish.