A big focus in Belize at the moment is Responsible Tourism in the Belize Barrier Reef, which is the world’s second largest reef and continuing to protect the reef for future generations. The coral reef is a very fragile ecosystem, and visitors to Belize can help to preserve these living reefs for the protection and enjoyment of future generations in many ways.
The Lionfish, with its striking appearance and venomous spines, is an invasive species that poses a significant threat to the Caribbean’s underwater biodiversity. This damaging species has quickly become a prolific predator, consuming native fish and disrupting the delicate balance of marine ecosystems.
Their rapid reproduction rates and lack of natural predators in the Caribbean have led to their population explosion, further exacerbating the damage they cause.
Belize have been working on efforts to control the Lionfish population through targeted removal and public awareness campaigns are crucial to safeguarding the health and diversity of Belizean coral reefs and marine life. This also helps the Garinagu maintain their fishing traditions. Additionally, the Lionfish hunt promotes community engagement, as locals and visitors come together to actively address an environmental challenge. Here are a number of initiatives to tackle the lionfish population:
• As part of Belize’s Fish Right, Eat Right policy, local businesses are being encouraged to add lionfish to their menu as part of their delicious dishes and visitors are being encouraged to eat sustainable seafood such as lionfish which is an invasive species with no natural predators and breed very quickly.
• Belioness is a jewellery company, made up of 19 women from seven coastal communities across Belize, who craft lionfish jewellery. Now an independent business, it empowers women as they become creative businesswomen earning a living by creating an ethical fashion choice supporting lionfish control. Fishermen donate their fins to the women’s groups that make jewellery such as earrings.
• Hamanasi, adventure & dive resort in Belize have added a lionfish spearfishing adventure – hunting the invader. The Lionfish Spearfishing Adventure at Hamanasi Resort is not a reckless hunt, but rather a regenerative and eco-conscious solution.