While spending money on travel and experience instead of buying physical things has been shown to promote happiness, the impact it has on the environment is undeniable. As we start taking a harder look at our collective travel habits, hotel brands have begun examining their own practices, with some making both small and sweeping changes that have the potential to be impactful on a larger scale.
And while some hotels are trying to help the environment through more generic means, like banning mini-toiletries or switching to green energy, one hotel in Bermuda is doing something entirely different: the hotel, Huckleberry, has made the lionfish a key part of its menu. So, why does that matter?
The lionfish is a venomous, invasive fish that is thought to have been introduced to the Atlantic waters via cargo ship. The population has since exploded, thanks to the fish’s rapid reproduction and lack of natural predators, spreading to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea and first appearing in the reefs surrounding Bermuda about a decade ago. The invasive species feeds on other fish and crustaceans and can destroy entire ecosystems. For an island surrounded by coral reefs like Bermuda, the ripple effect is powerful. As reefs are destroyed, hundreds and thousands of species of marine life can be impacted, decreasing the fish population and harming the fishing and tourism industries as a result.
The fish are tricky to catch (their venomous spines make spearfishing the best technique), and it’s costly to do so. But while it doesn’t make sense from a purely financial perspective, by adding lionfish to the menu, the restaurant is encouraging the local fishing community to target the species, thus helping to eradicate the invasive fish and stop it from further harming Bermuda’s reefs. Plus, it’s an interesting addition to the menu, served as ceviche, with layers of thinly sliced avocado, oranges, and pickled red onion, topped with caviar and jalapeño and dotted with sriracha aioli.