Why Lionfish Are A Problem In Belize
When you travel to Belize Dive Haven to go on an incredible diving adventure, you hope to see many sea creatures! Sea turtles, dolphins, and even species of sharks are all incredible animals that many divers hope to meet when diving in the Caribbean ocean. One animal that we hope not to see on our dive expedition is the infamous lionfish! Lionfish are an invasive species and a big problem for the Caribbean ocean’s ecosystem, here’s what you need to know about them before diving in Belize.
What Is A Lionfish?
Unlike its name suggests, a lionfish isn’t as big as a lion, or as ferocious, they’re actually quite small! Although you will surely see lionfish on your trip, generally we hope to not see them during dives. This isn’t because they’re threatening to divers, but because they’re an invasive species that are native to the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea that breed at an alarming rate and cause significant damage to the Caribbean Sea. Lionfish will eat anything and everything, including the small fish that are essential to eating the greenery of the ecosystem around them. Lionfish are a massive problem in Belize for all of the native fish, algae, and plant life.
What Do I Do If I See A Lionfish?
If you see one of these problem lionfish on your dive in Belize, we encourage you to help by spearing and capturing the fish. At Belize Dive Haven, our expert divemasters understand and respect the Caribbean ocean and know that in order to keep it healthy, we must do away with the lionfish invasion. Our divemasters will spear and collect lionfish and encourage those who are interested in spearing to hunt the lionfish as well; if we collect enough lionfish to feed our guests, we will cook and serve the lionfish once we’re back at the resort!
Eating A Lionfish
Although lionfish look funny and are considered a problem for Belize, they’re actually delicious to eat! The lionfish have venomous spines on both their back and their stomach that are not to be handled, but once brought to shore, the spine can be cut with a pair of kitchen scissors, making the fish safe to handle, to cook, and to eat. Lionfish have a mild flavour and a soft and meaty texture similar to other white fish, and when cooked and browned in oil and vegetables, they make for a delicious meal.
When diving in Belize, you can help become part of the solution to the lionfish problem by hunting and eating your very own tropical catch. At our resort, respect for the ocean and its creatures are our number one priority, which means protecting it from invasive species while loving and respecting the native species. When you’re diving with us at Belize Dive Haven, you capture lots of creatures: you capture native sea creatures with your camera, and you capture lionfish for lunch!
Interested in going on your very own lionfish hunt?
Book your vacation at Belize Dive Haven!
Just 30 miles from Belize City, Belize Dive Haven is located in pristine Turneffe Atoll. Consisting of creeks, lagoons, mangrove islands and cays, the atoll is home to over 500 species of fish, 65 different species of stony corals as well as birds, turtles, manatees and dolphins.