REEF’s How to Fillet a Lionfish Safely?

Fish fillet refers to a piece of fish meat that has been cut from the bone and typically has no skin. Fish fillets can be prepared in a variety of ways, including pan-frying, oven baking, grilling, deep-frying, and more. They are often enjoyed as a healthy and delicious protein source and can be served with a variety of sauces, vegetables, and starches. Some popular types of fish used in fillets include salmon, cod, tilapia, trout, and more.


Here are the general steps for filleting a fish:

1. Lay the fish on its side and use a sharp knife to make a cut directly behind the gills, down to the spine.

2. Turn the blade of the knife so it’s flat against the spine, and then cut along the backbone, staying as close to the bone as possible.

3. Work your way slowly down the side of the fish until you reach the tail. Use the knife to cut through the rib bones, separating the fillet from the rest of the fish.

4. Flip the fish over and repeat the process on the other side.

5. Remove the skin from each fillet. One way to do this is to insert the blade of the knife between the skin and flesh of the fillet at the tail end. Use a sawing motion to cut along the skin while holding the fillet firmly with your other hand. Repeat this process until all the skin has been removed.

Note: The filleting technique may vary depending on the type of fish you are working with, so it’s always a good idea to get instructions specific to the fish you will be filleting.

Wanna learn how to fillet a Lionfish from the professionals?

Watch this video from REEF that teaches you how to safely fillet a fish.


Lionfish Fillet Spine
lionfish spine fillet diagram

First and foremost, the most important information you need when it comes to handling lionfish is to know where all of the venomous spines are located… keep in mind, there are generally 18 spines that can be sharper than a hypodermic needle; 13 of them are located along the spine in the dorsal fins, there is one short spine in the leading edge of each of the pelvic fins and 3 short spines in the leading edge of the anal fin.

What would you add to these very different techniques to fillet, clean and prepare lionfish for cooking or eating any way you might like? Do you have a specific technique or way you like to get your lionfish ready? Tell us in the comments below or send us an email.

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