Lionfish in the Ration Book?

Danae Suarez

Lionfish by Nick Hobgood,

I know I don’t watch much television.  From time to time I’ve tried to interest myself in some specific program, but I always end up turning off the set.  Television — at least Cuban TV — I find decadent.  However a few days ago I paused in front of the TV while my family was looking at an interesting evening Round Table program on the lionfish.

I can’t remember who the panelists were, nor did I pay too much attention to their comments; I simply observed the documentary shown on the sudden presence of this fish along the coasts of Cuba.

This animal, according to the researchers, has become a threat to the Cuban ecosystem because it feeds on any type of animal that is lower than itself on the food chain, including fish that are eatable by humans.  They also commented about the first aid treatment that should be given to anyone attacked by a lionfish, and they drew attention to its strange beauty, among its other aspects.  But what alarmed me most about the documentary were its conclusions.

One of the scientists argued that this animal is perfectly eatable if its poison is extracted, while a fisherman admitted that he had tasted it and that it had a good flavor.  Another more daring interviewee didn’t discard the possibility that the biological control of this fish could be achieved by people themselves.

At home we all looked at each other in shock.  We all know that this year is looking difficult; we are familiar with the difficult food supply situation and we remembered the popular television cooking-show host Nitza Villapol; she used to show us how to “sweeten the bitter pill” of the Special Period crisis by coming up with all types of recipes under difficult circumstances of poverty and shortages.

All this made us tremble in light of the possibility that — in case the ration book isn’t eliminated — they might at any moment began issuing us lionfish in the place of regular fish.