Have you ever wondered how you can remove all the 18 venomous spines from a lionfish? Well I’ve produced a short video showing me removing the spines from three lionfish. For cleaning lionfish you will need a good pair of sharp tin snips and some puncture proof gloves – see my other post Puncture proof gloves for lionfish hunting.
It is always a good idea to wear a pair of puncture proof gloves while handling lionfish because it is very easy to get stung. I have been stung by lionfish four times and twice was when I was cutting off the spines before I took them to a local restaurant. I didn’t actually get stung by any of the 18 venomous spines on the two lionfish. I actually got stung by additional spines that had stuck into the fish when they were in my lionfish container. This probably happened back on my dive boat when I dumped the lionfish from my container into my cooler box. The force of the fish landing on top of each other probably caused a spine or two from another fish to break off into the lionfish I was handling.
Remember the venom in a lionfish is still active in the spines AFTER the lionfish has died. Over time, approximately 24hrs, the power of the venom reduces to zero.
Want to see how to de-spine a lionfish? Well have a look at my video below.
If I may ask, how did you determine that it takes 24 hours for the venom to denature in a deceased lionfish? I assume nobody volunteered to get stabbed at hourly intervals until the venom wasn’t effective, but I am curious as to whether there is any evidence behind that number. Thanks a ton for your time and help!
Hi there Brian. Thanks for the question. The 24 hour rule came from our Cayman Islands Department Of Environment. They used to and still do a presentation to individuals interested in catching lionfish. It came up in the presentation I attended, which was in 2010. However, I cannot remember if it was actually part of the presentation or part of the question and answer session. I hope this helps. I will try and find somewhere it is written down and send the link to you. Nigel