On April 30, 2012, I wrote:
Here is my solution to any aquatic invasive specie problem. Have the government start a covert marketing campaign designed to convince the public that the invasive specie is in fact a delicacy. They can even rename the specie to make it sound appetizing (think Toothfish to Chilean Sea Bass). But here's the catch... once the public is convinced of the delectable nature of the new exotic seafood, fail to regulate the fishery. As demand increases, prices will rise and the tragedy of the commons will eradicate the invaders.
Although they didn't rename it, Whole Foods seems to have heeded my suggestion for the invasive Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean Lionfish:
Lionfish with their distinctive venomous spines are an invasive species that has thrived in U.S. coastal waters because they have no natural predators -- until now.
Whole Foods stores in Florida are selling the "white, buttery meat" of the fish, which the grocery chain says is suitable for ceviche or a "simple pan sauté."
The U.S. government, eager to stop the lionfish from preying on native fish and shellfish, gives the meal five stars.
"If we can't beat them, why not eat them?" says the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration in a PSA video. "Why wait? Get them on your plate."
The lionfish are native to the Pacific and Indian oceans, but can also be found in the Atlantic and Caribbean, where it is considered an invasive species, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The government blames the aquarium trade for introducing the fish to the U.S. in the 1980s, and encourages Americans to catch and eat them.
Here's the PSA:
If the government really wanted to speed the process they could subsidize the catch of Lionfish (er, Caribbean Butterfish) for food, thus speeding the tragedy of the commons (and lowering the price to consumers). A problem might arise if consumers develop a taste for Lionfish and start demanding the government regulate the stock. But that's a ways down the road.