When you dive Ambergris Caye, you will find that there are not too many Lionfish on the reefs on the south side of the Island. The only reason for this is because of the dive shops who are hunting the fish constantly and they make an effort to keep the reefs as clean as possible.
When diving Ambergris Caye, the chances are that you will stay in the south part of the island. But once in a while, the crew of Island divers goes up north to hunt the Lionfish there, and that is exactly what we did today.
Why do we hunt Lionfish?
The Lionfish is an invasive specious in the Caribbean waters and does not have any natural enemies. Because of the fact they reproduce so fast, they are taking over the reefs, and they feed on juvenile reef fish.
When we would let the Lionfish be, they will kill all life on the reef and within a couple of years, they will destroy a complete ecosystem. It is up to divers like you and me to protect the reefs and make an effort to kill as much as we can.
Hunting the Lionfish should not be done by every diver. It is easy to hurt yourself or your dive buddy. That is why Island Divers plans a staff trip once every few weeks, and they take some friends to have fun underwater, kill some Lionfish and have an excellent lunch.
Planning a scuba trip to hunt lionfish? Then you should download the ultimate scuba dive checklist just like 5000+ other divers already so you will not forget to bring anything.
8:30 AM all the divers are on the boat, the sun came out after three days of rain here on Ambergris Caye. We were with a group of 12 divers and were ready for some serious fun. Let's Go Diving Ambergris Caye and catch our lunch.
Our first dive would be at Tranquility Bay canyons, and it took us 20 easy minutes to get there from San Pedro. After a short briefing, everybody got excited and was ready to go. The gear was set up and stood in the back of the boat. Dive time!! Fins on, mask on and jump in the water. The crew hands the equipment and within 3 minutes everybody was in the water. "Crew diving is easy and fun."
We dropped down to approx. 100 feet where the first Lionfish were hovering. It surprised us how large the population was we found on the northern reefs of Ambergris Caye vs. the population on the southern reefs.
After a few minutes, the first Lionfish were caught, and their spines were removed. From that point on we found more and more fish. After 45 minutes we showed off our catches during our safety stops. You cannot talk underwater but when a crew like this gets excited there is a whole lot of mumbling through the regulators!
We caught about 20 Lionfish on the 1st dive, and nobody got hurt! When everybody was back on the boat and the Lionfish were stored in the coolbox, it was time for a drink and some fresh fruit on our surface interval.
The second dive was planned on Michelle Canyon, which is also found in the southern part of Ambergris Caye. During this dive, some of us saw a giant grouper which (if you would believe Dough) could eat two divers at the same time and was easily as big as a car! Too bad we do not have the pictures.
After a dive of 45 minutes and our safety stop, we all surfaced and got back on the boat. The hunt was over, and we counted 35 Lionfish in total. Now it was time to get back to shore to fillet the fish and cook them and have a drink with friends at the Grand Caribe Resort on Ambergris Caye.
Article written by Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam, he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.