Lionfish, native to Pacific and Indian Oceans, have been on a destructive path for decades. The popular and venomous aquarium fish first got loose into the Atlantic Ocean in the mid-1980s, and more of them may have been released during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Now, the fish spans waters from the Caribbean to Rhode Island.
ReefCI did not sight an invasive Lionfish on the Southern Barrier reef until November 2009. During those early days they would sight one or two and remove them with an aquarium net and a slate! 5 years on and divers can remove over 100 during one 45-minute dive!
ReefCI’s Lionfish program consists of spearing them, dissecting them, collecting data, filleting them, eating them and now wearing them!
Marine scientists carefully remove the fins, spines and tails and dry them in the hot Belizean sun! Women from the local town of Punta Gorda have attended workshops and learned how to create gorgeous completely sustainable earrings! Every pair is hand crafted, wherever possible including the use of local products such as coconut husks.