The Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation hosted its first major fundraiser on Sept. 24 – “A Fishy Affair: Malicious but Delicious.” Four of Savannah’s prominent chefs cooked up their best lionfish dishes in an effort to encourage restaurants to put lionfish on their menus because they are invasive — but tasty – creatures. The event was sold out, and almost 250 people enjoyed the evening.
The lionfish is native to the tropical waters of the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are popular in home aquariums but are now invading ecosystems throughout the Atlantic coast and Caribbean. Lionfish damage the ocean by eating up to 20 small fish per day. With a very quick reproduction rate and no natural predators in Atlantic waters, they have multiplied quickly and threaten the natural biodiversity that provides economic and recreational opportunities. While completely removing lionfish from Atlantic and Caribbean waters is unlikely, reducing their numbers is critical to the ocean and for Gray’s Reef.
A Fishy Affair featured a full dinner, a short award-winning lionfish film, “Ocean Invaders,” by Mandee Malonee, a live Lionfish for viewing and a small live auction. All proceeds benefit Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.