When diving in the crystal clear waters off the coast of Belize, I learned about the fascinating underwater world of the Caribbean Sea.
The stunning reefs, fisheries and coastal communities of this Central American county are currently being threatened by unwanted guests — Lionfish. To better understand the problem, I went with Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort’s amazing team to help them combat the invasive Lionfish population.
Here’s my experience Spearfishing Lionfish in Belize.
Lionfish in Belize
While beautiful, Lionfish have negatively impacted Belize’s coastline. These fish are a non-native, invasive species that have no natural predators. Plus, their population is growing like crazy!
One female Lionfish can lay two million eggs, which threatens the sustainability of coral reefs and fisheries throughout the Caribbean.
Rapidly destroying the eco-system, Lionfish can reduce juvenile fish populations by 80% in just five weeks. Native to the South Pacific, they have a massive appetite and eat 50 different species of sea life, including those with populations at a critically low level.
It is believed that the Lionfish invasion started back in 1992 when six Lionfish were released from an aquarium during Hurricane Andrew. Today, Lionfish continue to plague the Caribbean waters bordering the US and Latin America.
Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort in Belize
An award-winning eco-resort in the middle of a natural wonderland, the Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort in Belize is on a mission to control the Lionfish population.
Inspired by the popular “Eat ‘Em to Beat ‘Em” campaign that has spread across the region, the resort is on a spearfishing mission to rid the waters of as many Lionfish as possible.
Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort invites guests, like yours truly, to dive in and try their hand at spearing these pesky fish. While I was terrible at it, I loved the mission.
It’s such a good program, especially because Lionfish happen to be delicious. They have light, flaky white meat that has skyrocketed in popularity during the “Eat ‘Em to Beat ‘Em” movement.
While fishing can be environmentally damaging in some cases, it is the complete opposite here. Ridding the waters of lionfish while feeding the local population is a win-win.