lionfish hunting

We have written extensively in the past about hunting lionfish at our island at Glover’s Reef in Belize. Although our island is in a national marine reserve where fishing other than catch-and-release is outlawed, we are allowed to spear the invasive lionfish. The lionfish at Glover’s Reef are a huge problem – but we do what we can to keep their numbers down, especially near our island.

Our February kitesurf instructor, Jasmine Ardeshiri, sent this great picture that she took on a snorkel last month. We have a favorite eel who lives at a certain coral head very near our island. When we spear lionfish, we like to take them to this eel and feed them to him. We are trying to teach the eels that lionfish are a very good thing to eat. That’s one of the reasons that lionfish are such a scourge in the Caribbean – because they are invasive, they have no natural predators. Our eel loves lionfish! Even though the spines are toxic to us (and we have to be very careful how we handle them) they don’t bother the eel at all; he gobbles them right up.

In the photo, our eel is just about to pounce on the fatally injured lionfish. This is definitely a win-win! That is, for everyone except the lionfish.

speared lionfishBlue Ventures Expeditions has a series of educational vacations in Belize I REALLY wish I could go on. Unfortunately, the dates don’t work for me, but I’m hoping some of you can go and then write a blog post about it!

Blue Ventures’ new lionfish projects start this May to help manage and monitor the progress of the invasive fish in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, which is about 100 miles north of our island at Glover’s Reef. By joining a project you could help reduce the pressure of this invasive fish by participating in regular lionfish culls while SCUBA diving. You will leave satisfied that you have not only been vital in collecting data which contributes to local and regional scientific research but have explored the reefs of the beautiful Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve in the process!

The lionfish invasion was first documented in coastal waters near Florida in the 1980s, and thought to be a result of deliberate or accidental releases from private and public aquariums. First officially recorded in Belizean waters as recently as 2008, their population has expanded rapidly throughout the country. With voracious appetites for juvenile fish and no natural predators to control them, they are now considered one of the biggest threats to the coral reef life in the Caribbean.

lionfish catch
A beautiful sight

Joining the Blue Ventures team out on their beautiful remote dive camp in Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will:

• Acquire your lionfish hunting licence
• Learn about the marine environment
• Learn how to survey and hunt invasive lionfish
• Improve your dive skills
• Contribute towards valuable research alongside scientists

There are a few spaces left on the following projects:
17 – 23 May 2014
24 – 30 May 2014
13 – 21 Sep 2014

Plus, it’s super affordable. Seven days is just $816 (converted from 495 GPB) and 9 days is $1237. If you’re looking for more than just a dive holiday for a short break, then the Blue Ventures Lionfish Project in Belize could be perfect for you!

To find out more visit the Blue Ventures website or contact Sarah Griffin, their Expeditions and Volunteer Coordinator at sarah@blueventures.org.

belize friends
Make new friends while doing a good deed!