Eat Them To Beat Them!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

How would you like to eat a tasty din­ner and save the en­vi­ron­ment at the same time? At San­dals Grande St. Lu­cian Spa and Beach Re­sort there is one del­i­cacy on the menu that al­lows you to do just that! You won’t find it at your run-ofthe-mill restau­rant, but if you are a San­dals guest in Saint Lucia, then Lion­fish is most cer­tainly on the menu!

The preda­tory species was first in­tro­duced to the re­gion in 2010, but since then the Lion­fish in­va­sion has be­come one of the top 15 threats to global bio­di­ver­sity. There ap­pears to be one ac­tive so­lu­tion - we have to eat them to beat them.

San­dals Grande has be­come one of the lead­ing es­tab­lish­ments to not only re­spond to this clar­ion call, but to treat guests to what has been de­scribed as one of the health­i­est and tasti­est fish meals around. The mouth-wa­ter­ing aroma of grilled lion­fish fills the air around the Jerk Shack at San­dals Grande and en­thu­si­as­tic guests can be seen dig­ging into their meals.

One guest re­vealed that she had no idea lion­fish could be so de­li­cious. “The lion­fish is sur­pris­ingly ten­der on the palate,” she said. “Hav­ing heard about it re­cently, I was anx­ious to sam­ple it here and I’m so happy I did! I in­tend to ex­per­i­ment when I get home if I can find it at the su­per­mar­ket.”

“Be­ing able to serve such a unique and de­li­cious meal to our guests while con­tribut­ing pos­i­tively to marine preser­va­tion is re­ally a win­win”, said Ricky Duques­nay, group man­ager of food and bev­er­age. He added, “This is some­thing we hope to con­tinue for a long time. We’re work­ing with a lo­cal sup­plier here in Saint Lucia, who will deliver lion­fish con­sis­tently on a weekly ba­sis. We will con­sume an es­ti­mated 11,000 to 14,000 lion­fish a year.”

The San­dals Food and Bev­er­age Depart­ment has en­sured that all team mem­bers are ad­e­quately trained in the proper han­dling and prepa­ra­tion of the lion­fish, which although hav­ing poi­sonous spikes, is not harm­ful once prop­erly pre­pared.

Deputy Chair­man and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of San­dals Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional, Adam Ste­wart, said the com­pany is very ex­cited about the ini­tia­tive. “Our com­pany has long been a guardian of the marine en­vi­ron­ment and we’ve al­ways been more than will­ing to play our part in en­vi­ron­men­tal preser­va­tion. I am happy that the team has em­braced and mas­tered this chal­lenge and that our guests are lov­ing the grilled lion­fish. I’m hop­ing this will en­cour­age other or­ga­ni­za­tions to re­al­ize that we can truly beat them if we eat them!”

Lion­fish de­stroy much of the fish and shell­fish in the wa­ters of the eastern se­aboard every year, dam­ag­ing frag­ile eco-sys­tems and reducing catches for fish­er­men. Since lion­fish are not na­tive to At­lantic wa­ters, they have very few preda­tors. Hu­mans are per­haps the only an­i­mal that lion­fish should be fear­ful of, and the only species po­ten­tially ca­pa­ble of con­trol­ling lion­fish pop­u­la­tions. Sci­en­tists, man­agers, fish­er­men, and lo­cals from Venezuela to North Carolina are ral­ly­ing be­hind “Eat Lion­fish” cam­paigns. Lion­fish tour­na­ments have be­come an­nual events in some of the most heav­ily hit ar­eas of the Caribbean and At­lantic.

Since its in­tro­duc­tion on the menu at San­dals Grande, guest feed­back has been very pos­i­tive and San­dals in­tends to ex­pand this of­fer­ing across the re­gion. Chefs across the en­tire chain are cur­rently un­der­go­ing in­tense Lion­fish prepa­ra­tion as the com­pany pre­pares to roll out the cam­paign at all prop­er­ties.

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