March 21, 2023

Readers mail….
From Damla Beton (SPOT)….

Lionfish (Pterois miles) and long-spined sea urchin (Diadema setosum) are invasive species that reach our shores via the Suez Canal. The rapidly increasing numbers of these creatures with their poisonous spines are threatening the existence of natural species living in the Mediterranean. However, both types are being enjoyed at dinner tables. The lionfish is especially tasty but harmful to the natural ecosystem.

The more we consume this delicious fish, the more we help to protect our seas.

It was precisely for that reason that the “Lionfish and long spiny sea urchin tasting event” was organised on Sunday, 31st July with the help of Gökmen Güneş, the owner of Turtle Paradise Restaurant in the Alagadi Special Environmental Protection Area.

A lot of people who had never tried the lionfish before had the chance to taste it. The aim of this introduction was to encourage people to buy or order it if they came across it at a fish mongers or in a restaurant. This, it is hoped, will increase its consumption. The slogan of the day was: “By eating lionfish you will not only save our seas and support our fishermen but it is also good for you”. At the same event, participants had the opportunity to taste the long-spined sea urchin also.

It must be remembered, however, that it requires special attention and knowledge to catch the lionfish and long-spined sea urchins. The spines on the fins of the lionfish are very poisonous, while the spines of the long-spined sea urchin are only slightly but still venomous. Therefore, they must be approached with due care. In fact, if one is not experienced in this subject one should not attempt to hunt them ourselves. They are delicious to eat but only after carefully removing the fins and spines.

This event was organised as part of the “Lion fish and Long spined sea urchin extermination project in selected regions” project and carried out by SPOT, (North Cyprus Society for the Protection of Turtles), the University of Kyrenia and Enalia Physis Environmental Research Centre. It was supported by the ‘Mediterranean Small Islands Initiative’ and the MAVA Foundation. During the event use was also made of Lionfish promotion brochures of the TRNC Livestock Department.

The entire organisation team wishes to thank Gökmen Güneş, Uğur Sencer, Osman Evirgen and Yusuf Akandağ for their support in the realisation of the event.

Photos: courtesy of Olkan Ergüler and Robin Snape

Source (Turkish): SPOT, (North Cyprus Society for the Protection of Turtles

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