*My first encounter with a Lionfish in the Lighthouse Reef*
It has been 48 hours since I retuned from Belize and I must say that I had a wonderful time! Between the amazing coral, puddle jumpers, bonding with a hawksbill and supporting a mini humane society, the trip couldn't have been better. Unfortunately however, this was my first vacation that I had a first hand account of the invasive lionfish that has been taking over the Caribbean for the last few years.
*Joey from "Frenchies" Dive Shop, myself & dive buddy Shelley*
Although we can all agree that they are a stunning and unique looking fish - I can't help but think of how many native species they are taking over and destroying. While in Placencia, Belize - my divemaster Dereon explained that not only 3 weeks ago the town had a lionfish competition to see which dive shop could bring in the most lionfish. Hundreds of fish had been caught, weighed and eventually cooked by a famous chef from Belize City who came down to show the locals how to safely prepare and fillet the fish with poisonous spines! Apparently it tastes like chicken lol
Even though hundreds of lionfish were caught from the local reefs, Dereon informed me that not even a week later many more of these fish were spotted on the exact same reefs. Everyone has now realized that there will be no way to eradicate the lionfish completely but simply try and come up with new ideas to keep their numbers low - like competitions and introducing lionfish on local restaurant menus! Lets hope next time I visit Belize I will see ZERO lionfish! I only want to see them in the Pacific!! :0)