My wife and I were fortunate enough to be able to take a short but pleasant diving vacation in Belize last week. She went through a re-certification and took her first dive in a decade or so. It was great fun to be able to do that together.
I also got to do a little lionfish hunting while we were there. I’ve written about my experiences with lionfish in Belize before. My observation this time is that maybe, just maybe, human hunting of lionfish in this part of the world, could be having an impact.
Anecdotal evidence from our local friends and from our own dives last week indicate that areas of the reef that see more frequent dive activity (and therefore more hunting) have less lionfish now than, say three or four years ago while areas with less concentrated diving and hunting still have relatively high populations.
It would be great to see some real data gathered with some scientific rigor to tell us how this invasive species is doing and to give us some idea about how effective recreational divers can be in managing them. There are scientists working in the field and a few relevant papers have been published. There are some citizen-science projects too. I’m looking forward to reading more results as the science matures.