Entries in #lionfish (5)


The Issue with  Lionfish

While there are a number of both exotic and endangered species of fish within the neighbouring waters of Caye Caulker. The Pterois Volitans do not receive half the same compassion. Due to their destructive nature of local species, avid fisherman seek to cull local population of Lionfish every March during the now two year running ‘Lionfish Derby’.

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The 2nd Lionfish  Derby

Last weekend the 2nd edition of the lionfish derby took place here in Caye Caulker. Frontier is one of the member of the organisation committee alongside local businesses.  As you read in our previous blog, lionfish are a big problem here in Belize and it is in the best interest of local fishermen, tourist operators and marine conservation in general to try to mitigate the lionfish population on the reef.

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Lionfish in  Belize

Lionfish has been said to be one of the most aggressively invasive species on the planet.

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The Invasion Of The Venomous Beauty

On Saturday 13th February Caye Caulker had its first invasive lionfish derby, and it was a great success!

Lionfish were thought to have invaded the western Atlantic in the 80s and have successfully spread as far north as Rhode Island and as far south as Venezuela. They feast voraciously on small-bodied juvenile reef fish, crustaceans and molluscs and have no natural predators, making them a huge environmental issue for the reef.

Last Saturday (13th) Caye Caulker was a hive of lionfish hunting activity. Around 40 people across 9 boats left the island in the early hours of the morning to hunt the invasive predator in hope of winning some great prizes, or more importantly, to help protect the reef. Over the course of the next 8 hours 500+ lionfish were removed from the reef, with many being measured, weighted and/or dissected for important scientific data.

Frontier in conjunction with other non-governmental organisations played a pivotal role in the derby. Frontier provided local residents, competitors and those interested with the current scientific lowdown on these stripy predators, including their invasive range (did you know: they are the fastest invasive fin fish known to man?), general ecology, venomology, anatomy and behaviour. Frontier’s volunteers were also invaluable in providing support across all aspects of the derby and were deservedly rewarded with free beer. Win win win!

In all, the lionfish derby was a great success for a few reasons:

1.    The lionfish derby has been a great platform for community science and has helped many understand the issues surrounding marine invasive species and of course, the lionfish.
2.    The derby has helped to create a local food market for lionfish which should help entice fishermen to continue to remove them from the reef, keeping their numbers under control.
3.    The event was good fun for everybody involved and it was pleasure working closely with other NGOs and the friendly Caye Caulken people.

By Alex Sullivan – Assistant Research Officer

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

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

5 Reasons To Come To Belize

On the famous Central American trail Belize is a popular pit-stop for adventure seekers, ocean enthusiasts or those just looking for the perfect place to relax. With mottos such as 'Go Slow' and 'no shirt, no shoes, no problem' Belize is definitely the place to kick off you shoes and take a break from the faster pace of life most of us are used too. Here are some of the top reasons to tick Belize off the list!


1.    The  Blue Hole

Part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System the Blue Hole is often referred to as one of the most amazing natural wonders of the world and is often placed in many divers top ten dive sites, which is why thousands of divers flock to Belize year in the hope of experiencing what this amazing site has to offer.

But what is the Great Blue Hole and how was it formed?? The Blue Hole is actually a giant submarine sinkhole (the largest in the world in fact), it is located near Lighthouse Reef – a small atoll 70km from the mainland. The hole is over 300m across and 124m (407ft) deep. Upon descent into the hole divers are greeted by bizarre formations of limestones and stalactites which are believed to have been formed over 153 000 years ago over long periods of time.

2.    Mayan Ruins

Archaeologists estimate that more than one million Maya lived in present day Belize and flourished during the Classic Period from 300 to 900 AD.  Belize has a lot of ruins to explore, with Caracol, Xunantunich, Altun Ha, Cahal Pech and Lamanai  being just a few of those on offer for you to explore!


3.    Food

Belizes population is made up of a mix of many different ethnic groups like the Garifuna, Maya, Mestizo, East Indian and Creole all who bring their own dishes to the area creating a diverse menu to please everyone. Whether it’s the freshest seafood or spice you crave – Belize has everything to offer. Fry Jacks are a huge hit with our volunteers!

4.    Wildlife!

Belize has a lot of tropical rainforest available for wildlife to flourish. The government and people take pride in the ecosystem and protect wild animals and birds so that you can enjoy them in their natural habitat. The country is home to the world’s only Jaguar preserve, some 128,000 acres in the Cockscomb Wildlife Preserve in the south and is home to all five of the Belize cats: Jaguar, Margay, Jaquarundi and Ocelot– and of course a whole lot of animals and birds also live there!

5.    Diving!

The Great Barrier Reef runs the entire length of Belize, starting with Quintana Roo, Mexico in the North, and ending in the south with border with Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. This natural formation means that almost the entire coast of Belize is within protected waters. Between the reef and the coast you can find some of the best diving in the Caribbean. World-class diving is especially attractive off the several atolls that dot the coast.

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!


Hunting the Invasive Lionfish

Today I went with the fisheries officer Aldo to spear the invasive Lionfish in part of the conservation zone next to the preservation zone (where no activity is allowed except with a permit for scientific research).  This area gets lots of overspill from the preservation zone, so the water was full of life. Shoals of Baracuda, a Green Turtle, Nurse sharks, big Lobsters and loads of the critically endangered Elkhorn Coral.

Here's a video from the snorkel!

This species was brought over from Indo-Pacific for the aquarium trade and may have been released when hurricane Andrew destroyed an aquarium in Florida.. This Lionfish eats many of the native species so the "Lionfish for food campaign" was started to encourage people in the Caribbean to catch them.. So I went out with a Hawaiian sling and speared my first ever fish!

Gross picture but I'm still proud of it..

By Robyn, Assistant Research Assistant. 


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

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