Lionfish hunting in Belize

By Sadie Dingfelder, Published: October 19

Sinking slowly through Belize’s turquoise sea, Giovanni Gonzalez has murder on his mind. The dive guide scans the reef, his dreadlocks moving like a sea creature. I see only the usual confetti of tropical fish, but I can tell that Gio has spotted a lionfish tucked into the coral.He readies his spear, takes aim and fires. The impaled fish materializes in a cloud of silt, thrashing to free itself — or at least sink a poison-barbed fin into someone’s skin. No fool, Gio pulls out a pair of scissors and disarms the fish by snipping off its spiky fins. A squeamish vegetarian, I turn away and watch the fins drift like feathers toward the ocean floor.

Details, Belize

Gio is clearly having a lot of fun, but he’s also ridding the reef of a dangerous invader. Native to the Indian and Pacific oceans,lionfish were released into the Atlantic in the 1980s — most likely by Florida aquarium owners who tired of feeding the voracious creatures. Since then, these orange-and red-striped devils have colonized coastal waters from Rhode Island to South America, devastating local fish populations wherever they go.

In Belize, they’re making a meal of thetropical fish that tourists like me fly hundreds of miles to see. So, to protect the marine ecosystem and their own livelihoods, fishermen and dive professionals began hunting lionfish in 2002, Gio tells me once we’re back on the boat. “There was a bounty then,” he says. “Fifty dollars a fish.” Even with a price on their heads, the lionfish continued their invasion. “We need tourists to spear lionfish, and we really need people to start eating them,” Gio says.

When I’d booked my ticket to Belize, hunting and eating poisonous fish hadn’t been on the top of my to-do list. My plan was to laze around on a quiet beach with a frozen drink and take a leisurely look at the undersea scenery. Topside in Belize, I found plenty of laid-back charm. But beneath the ocean’s surface, I discovered a world of fearsome creatures engaged in a fierce battle for survival — and I got pulled into the melee myself.

Swimming with sharks

My home base for the week, Placencia, is a charming fishing village three hours from the capital, Belize City. Soon after arriving, my travel companion and I discover that the town’s real main street isn’t the recently paved road, but a narrow sidewalk that sets off near the public beach, wanders past sparsely populated cafes, and barges right through people’s back yards. In the afternoon heat, we see only a smattering of sunburned tourists on the sidewalk, but as the sun sets, the town’s melange of residents gathers to loiter and gossip.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/lionfish-hunting-in-belize/2012/10/18/3d2ef39e-16fd-11e2-a55c-39408fbe6a4b_story.html

 

Top Places to Stay in Belize


Belize Tour Companies and Travel Agents

Belize Real Estate Opportunities






February 23, 2018

How to Go to Belize Using Credit Card Rewards

Did you know that it’s simple to craft a great Belize vacation on points and miles? If you’ve been wanting...
Read More
February 22, 2018

Found: A New Species of Shark

For decades, scientists thought that all bigeye sixgill sharks, named for their distinct number of gills (most sharks only have...
Read More
February 22, 2018

7 English-speaking and picture-perfect spots for retirement

Don't put the kibosh on your dreams of a beachside retirement in an exotic locale. Retiring to a foreign country...
Read More
February 22, 2018

This Is What Everyone Is Doing For Spring Break This Year—and We’re Fully On Board With It

When it comes to vacation, are you Team Beach-Chair-and-Chill or Team Adventure? Read more: https://www.coastalliving.com/travel/spring-break-travel-trend-2018
Read More
February 22, 2018

Caye Caulker Becoming a Top Tourist Destination in Belize

Caye Caulker is changing. There are lots of new things going on, but life on the island still runs at...
Read More
February 22, 2018

Eco-tourism in Belize & Caves Branch Jungle Lodge

Tourism has come a long way since Thomas Cook first began printing railway timetables over a century ago. Read more:...
Read More
February 21, 2018

Ft. Lauderdale to Belize City $179 Round-Trip, Nonstop on Southwest, April & May

Fly nonstop from Fort Lauderdale to Belize City for $179 round-trip on Southwest. Read more: https://www.airfarewatchdog.com/blog/44250411/ft-lauderdale-to-belize-nonstop-on-southwest-april-may/
Read More
February 20, 2018

Teds Travel – The wonders of Belize

Teds Travels – The wonders of Belize Anyone who doesn’t know about Belize finds the travel destination fascinating. Read more:...
Read More
February 20, 2018

Belize contributes to ‘Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund’

BELIZE CITY, Belize (CMC) — The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has collaborated with tourism industry stakeholders in raising US$59,934 as...
Read More
1 2 3 12

Comments

comments

0 Comments

Leave a Comment

Login

Welcome! Login in to your account

Remember me Lost your password?

Don't have account. Register

Lost Password

Register

Close
Please support the site
By clicking any of these buttons you help our site to get better
Banner-1