Entries in conservation (3)

Tuesday
Jun072016

Seagrass beds – ‘The Rainforests of Our Seas’

Seagrass beds are an essential coastal habitat found throughout the world, from the south of England, to the Coral Triangle, to the Caribbean. Unlike the majority of other marine vegetation seagrass are more structurally similar to terrestrial plants.

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Tuesday
Feb092016

The Belize Lionfish Derby

This weekend, here in Belize, Frontier will be involved in a Lion Fish Derby - where teams made up of local fishermen, dive shops and others will go out onto the reef and attempt to catch as many lionfish as possible. Why are we involved in a fishing competition may you ask? This is no ordinary competition – Lionfish are invasive here in the Caribbean and there thriving numbers can actually be detrimental for the reef.     

                          

Reports suggest that the lionfish invasion was due to the simultaneous release of 6 specimens into Biscayne Bay, Florida during Hurricane Andrew (Courtenay 1995). However many dispute this and it is believed that lionfish were introduced before hurricane Andrew by aquarium owners, likely because the lionfish started to eat its smaller tank mates. Today invasive lionfish are found throughout the western Atlantic coast from as far north as Rhode Island (U.S.A) to the Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean.

Lionfish are often described as a voracious predator. They favour small fish with elongate fusiform bodies that range in size from 10 to 50mm and have been observed to prey upon the endemic and critically endangered social wrasse (Halichoeres socialis) on the inner barrier reef. Lionfish are 2-3 times more effective at hunting small reef fish species on the Caribbean than native predators (Albins 2013). This makes them a key threat to the Belizean reef.

Furthermore, Lionfish have no natural predators in the Atlantic however there have been accounts of Caribbean predators eating lionfish but only when offered to them by a diver. This teamed with the fact they can release around 25000 every 3-4 days throughout the year makes them a growing concern for the reef!

It is important to promote the eating of lionfish in Belize, creating a market demand and thus incentivising fishermen to actively fish them. This will likely keep population numbers under control. To do this it is important to educate people on a few key things which is why this weekend Lionfish derby will play an important role in promoting the removal of this invasive species!

Last week we went into a local school to educate young people on Lionfish, providing them with information and doing a dissection to look at their stomach contents, during the derby we will be on hand to collect catch data and look forward to educating the community!

By Holly Connoly - Project Coordinator

Find out more about the Belize Marine Conservation & Diving project.

Check out what volunteers in Belize are up to right now!

Friday
Sep122014

Vlog: David Soares - Diving has become second nature to me!

Check out David Soares's latest Vlog! David is a Conservation Apprentice at Belize, and here he tells about what he has been up to, and why he loves Belize! 

Find out more about the Belize Marine Conservation & Diving project.

Check out what volunteers in Belize are up to right now!