It’s astounding how extensive aquaculture is. The oceans hold species that we’re usually unfamiliar with, including predators and prey. While we know that sharks are one of the most vicious creatures, you’d be surprised to know that lionfish are just as concerning – if not more.
Predominantly found in Indonesia, Lionfish is known for its venous spine, feeding on coral reefs and precious sea animals such as crabs, grouper, snapper, and lobster larvae. Many believe that irresponsible aquarists found the first lionfish in Florida during the 1990s and threw it in the water. That paved the way for abundant lionfish in coastal Florida, the Caribbean, and other parts of the southern United States.
It’s disturbing to know that lionfish keep increasing at a significantly alarming rate. And at this rate, we may have to say goodbye to indulging in fine-dining snapper and deep-fried soft crab!
The fact that lionfish doesn’t have any natural predator is a massive worry, which is why the animal is often called “an environmental terrorist” by many. The growing lionfish population in the Atlantic Ocean worries several stakeholders, primarily fishers and seafood distributors. And one such example is the Traditional Fisheries.
The business was established by Gary Groomes and Dave Johnson to control lionfish overpopulation on Florida and Caribbean coasts. It would create consumable lionfish and use it for eating, frying, and other uses in the culinary market.
Traditional Fisheries appeared in Shark Tank’s episode 419 in the fourth season. The entrepreneurs sought $225,000 for the company’s 25% equity. They began their pitch by telling the sharks about the critical ecological situations and the start of the lionfish invasion in foreign waters like the United States. According to the entrepreneurs, the best damage repair is from human predators converting lionfish into wholesome dishes.
Daymond was curious and asked about the effective approach to commercially catching and selling lionfish, a creature that lives in reef caves. The answer: spearing the lionfish by entering into contracts with several spearfishermen.
So far, Traditional Fisheries has cleared 12,000 lionfish in the previous year. Robert thought the species wasn’t commonly consumed, so creating awareness of a new fish dish would be challenging. Regardless of the supply, the business is of no use with insufficient demand. Therefore, he was the first shark out.
Daymond called the endeavor an “educational challenge.” He thought the business would need well above $250,000 to accomplish anything substantial. Mark agreed with the perception. So, they were both out.
Kevin compared the business objectives with lobsters. After all, it took society over forty years to think of lobsters as more than the ocean’s “cockroaches.” Similarly, he didn’t think people would be quick to understand the jeopardizing effects lionfish can have on the overall ecosystem. Because Traditional Fisheries can perhaps take years before gaining a place in the market, he didn’t think it was feasible enough. He’s the next shark who declined the pitch.
Lori was the last shark to offer her verdict. Although she was immensely supportive of environment and economy-friendly initiatives, she just couldn’t imagine people eating lionfish. This made her wary about the company’s future sales, ultimately declining the pitch.
Traditional Fisheries had to leave Shark Tank without entering a deal with any shark. Following the episode, the company couldn’t keep up with the extensive marketing and educational costs. Developing and enhancing taste buds can be significantly complex, restricting the brand’s ability to develop a niche within the industry.
Adding in the difficult procurement procedure, the entrepreneurs couldn’t manage the piling responsibilities. Traditional Fisheries eventually went out of operations without the sharks’ investment. Its official website is unavailable, and social media accounts have remained inactive since 2011.
Our Review Of Traditional Fisheries
As environmentally-concerned citizens, we think Traditional Fisheries would have been a marvelous creation. It didn’t harm the lionfish. Rather, it effectively utilized them as food, bringing variety to the market.
In addition, the strategic way it planned to save other creatures like snapper and crab was mind-blowing. Although the business operated for a few more months following the Shark Tank episode, it was a breath of fresh air.
Now that we see it, numerous online and physical stores have started selling lionfish fillets, generating sufficient sales. This causes us to believe that maybe, the Traditional Fisheries was ahead of its time.
Pros Of Traditional Fisheries
- Contribute to reducing the lionfish population in the oceans
- Ideal for people intrigued by exotic tastes/foods
- Lionfish is nutritious and healthy – perfect for health-conscious seafood lovers
- The meat is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury and saturated fats
Cons Of Traditional Fisheries
- Consuming the spines can be fatal because of their venomous content
- It contains a high level of toxins that can cause food poisoning symptoms
- Additional side-effects may include neurological issues like reversed temperature sense and loose teeth
Who Is Traditional Fisheries For?
Traditional Fisheries would have been the perfect platform for individuals who prioritize environmental concerns and want to contribute towards making aqua culture safe and healthy. Moreover, lionfish meat is unfamiliar and not as common as other seafood. So, if you’re a curious soul who loves seafood and is obsessed with trying and experiencing new things, Traditional Fisheries is your soulmate!
Are There Any Alternatives?
Key West Shrimp Co. Fresh Seafood Market is among the best alternatives to Traditional Fisheries. It offers fillets with and without the skin to cater to people who prefer crispy or mushy lionfish meat. The online store ensures you don’t need to physically visit the place to get your hands on this delicious treat. Just place your order and get the meat within seven working days. It’s that simple!
Our Final Thoughts
Traditional Fisheries was an outstanding initiative by people who thought about the environmental problems years before the mass audiences considered it. It’s unfortunate to see the business existing no more, considering the health benefits of lionfish fillets. Though thankfully, you can still order fresh lionfish from other supermarkets and e-commerce stores to get your fill.