In chapter 56 of Master Chef Ecuadorbroadcast last night by the Teleamazonas signal, the chef Jorge Rauch wore his white apron to give cooks and viewers a generous master class on the mysterious lionfish, considered one of the most serious ecological problems in the world.
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With a knife in hand, he taught the ten participants the correct way to fillet this fish with its soft, white meat. However, his teachings went beyond the gastronomic part, the expert who has been promoting the consumption of this type of fish for more than eight years gave a brief but precise introduction to the lionfish.
“Today, any amount of lionfish that I get in my restaurant is not enough. Everyone knows the lionfish and everyone wants to try it”, assured the also owner of Criterión and Marea in Colombia.
Its capture requires meticulous and titanic work, as this species hides among the corals. “Lionfish fishing is one on one. You can’t catch it with a net, because the nets would have to go to the reefs and break up the corals, and do worse damage.”He mentioned on the show last night.
The lionfish is seen as an alarming It threatens some marine species such as lobsters, shrimp, molluscs and even the Caribbean reefs.
That is why its intake is considered guilt-free. “An ecological problem that has a gastronomic solution”, defends Rausch, the first Colombian chef who led his fishing in the Caribbean waters.
But, what makes it really dangerous? Its extensive fins, and its bright colors that blend red and white could make it look like a friendly species, but no. The lion fish, also known as the scorpion fish, It is a predator par excellence, it hunts its prey thanks to its camouflage and its reflexes that are handled quickly.
According to National Geographic in a report, the poison that it expels through its 18 dorsal fins is its defense tool. They assure that a single bite of this species can cause nausea and respiratory problems, although it is not fatal.
However, chef Rausch clarifies that they are often confused with a poisonous fish, but its greatest danger is in the strength of its bites.. “The lionfish is a rock fish, so it has very sharp spines and when it bites you, they say it hurts two hundred times more than a jellyfish sting”said Rausch, in the program, who guarantees that once it comes out of the water this fish loses its toxin and after 20 minutes it can be cooked.
It is a fish native to the cracks of the Indo-Pacific (where it lives normally and has its natural predator), that has spread to warm oceans around the world. In Colombia it was seen for the first time in 2008, and its presence quickly multiplied, destroying many other species.
In the Caribbean Sea, it only has one predator, which is the grouper, a species that humans have driven to extinction due to indiscriminate fishing, Rausch said at a TEDx Bogotá conference in 2016. Therefore, there is no marine species that is eaten to the lionfish.
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In a note published in 2014 by Week, reports that only in San Andrés and Providencia there were more than a million specimens, which devoured between two and three tons of fish from their reefs. “The species that it devours relentlessly approach it because they do not recognize it as dangerous”, holds
“It eats the little fish, and the little fish feed on algae, and when there is no one to eat the algae, the algae grow and grow and suffocate the corals, and they die. Corals take hundreds of thousands of years to grow, and when they die it’s a terrible loss.”explained the international jury of MasterChef.
Some experts attribute his stay in new waters to 1992 Hurricane Andrew, since several fish tanks that raised it were affected by this natural phenomenon.
“The human being who is the worst predator on the planet, this time taking an animal almost to the point of extinction, can help the environment (…) When had helping the environment been so rich?”, the chef reflected in his TEDx talk in 2016.
For this campaign of consumption without guilt, the renowned chef defines himself as a casual environmentalist, since through a foundation he fishes this species to finally serve it as a delicious dish not only in his restaurants, but in some places in Colombia.
For every lionfish that is ingested, 3,4184 species are being saved, 6,132 crustaceans and 3,500 other species; ensures the campaign led by Rausch.
“We can stop this plague. All we have to do is eat a fish that is also delicious. Its meat is white and soft and has a slightly salty flavor without the need to season it”, mentioned in 2014. (I)