Lionfish spearing marine conservation in Belize

“Volunteer with a small group on a remote coral caye in Belize for five days or longer. Mix up lionfish hunting dives and life on the island with time spent on the mainland.”


Three spearfishing dives a day | Belize mainland optional activities include: nature expeditions, spelunking, repelling, zip-lining, cave and river tubing, PADI certifications and cultural tours |

Description of Lionfish spearing marine conservation in Belize

There’s an invasive predator lurking in the dark depths of the Caribbean that’s making a meal of the indigenous species that have no natural means of defending themselves. This is where you come in.

Grab a spear and dive into the warm waters surrounding a remote island in Belize as you go in search of lionfish and help to protect the marine ecology that’s vital for maintaining the health of the southern Belize barrier reef.

Lionfish spearing is a form of marine conservation that readdresses the natural order of things and gives native species a fighting chance of survival against a predator that has nothing to fear in Belize other than our crack squad of eco-warriors.

Although this is not a job for the feint hearted it is an amazing experience and places you on the front line in the battle to save the reef.

Hunting, spearing, dissecting and eventually eating lionfish can be really exciting and joining a small group of volunteers offers you an opportunity to make new friends, take part in a dedicated marine conservation programme and learn more about this beautifully remote region of Belize.

If you’re prepared to eat a fish then you should also be prepared to catch and kill it. Lionfish are not only aggressive predators they’re also rather tasty so nothing goes to waste after you’ve experienced the thrill of the chase.

In their own environment, the Pacific, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, lionfish are part of a healthy marine ecology; in the Atlantic and Caribbean, however, they’re not. In fact, the very indigenous species in Belize that lionfish eat are the very ones who are vital for keeping the reef alive and well.

Aside from lionfish spearing you’ll also be invited to keep track of lobsters, conch and whale sharks as well as taking part in coral reef and commercial fish research which is also an important part of marine conservation in Belize.

Come and stay for a week, a fortnight or a month where you’ll join a volunteer team committed to saving the world’s second largest barrier reef whilst staying on a remote coral caye as well as having an absolutely amazing experience along the way.

This tailor made holiday gives you the opportunity to live in a stunning tropical environment and join a team of volunteers who are making a massive difference to eradicating lionfish from Belize for once and for all.

PADI Dive Courses Offered on the Island

We have many dive courses available to help you develop your scuba and marine conservation skills while on the island volunteering with us. Below is the price our program charges for each PADI certification course and how long it will take you to complete the certification course on the island. Please note the Open, Advanced, Rescue, and Dive Master certifications require the PADI e-Learning prior to arrival.

• PADI Open Water Certification – $150 USD (3 days)
• PADI Advanced Open Water Certification – $200 USD (1 week)
• PADI Rescue Diver Certification – $250 USD (1 week)
• PADI Dive Master Certification – $400 USD (4 week minimum stay)
• PADI Specialty Course: Invasive Lionfish – $100 USD (3 days)
• PADI Specialty Course: Coral Reef Conservation – $100 USD (3 days)
• PADI Specialty Course: Fish Identification – $100 USD (3 days)
• PADI Specialty Course: Deep Diver – $100 USD (3 days)
• PADI Specialty Course: Emergency First Response – $100 USD (2 days)

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

We are a not for profit marine conservation company that focus on conserving the environment by using recreational divers to sustain the organisation. The vision is to help conserve the environment whilst offering the ‘holiday diver’ a chance to put something back into the environment and at the same time obtaining a well earned break.

We are working alongside the Belizean Department of Fisheries and local NGO’s to monitor and maintain the marine environment of the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, Southern Belize. Work includes the surveying and monitoring of commercial species such as lobster and conch, surveying and helping to protect the spawning fish aggregations, water quality testing, turtle conservation, MBRS surveys and Reef Check surveys for long term global studies and analysis. We are active members of PADI Project AWARE Coral Watch and Whale Shark programmes and also work with Belizean based Ecomar to help remove the invasive non-native lionfish from Belizean waters.

The Impacts of this Trip

We bring tourists to the area who spend money in restaurants, local stores and with tour guides. All of our supplies are bought locally from the market and general stores.

We also spend money with local businesses such as the mechanic who maintains our boat. It is important to us our guests integrate into the local community. Our guests use local tour guides to see the town and surrounding area which is beautiful and rarely seen. Alot of our guests visit some of the mayan sites and comment how they are the only people there! We employ Belizean people and we run a training program for the youths of Toledo where we give young people the chance to become Dive Masters and thus obtain well paid jobs in the touristy resorts such as San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. We also sponsor a local football team and assist in beach cleans whenever possible.


4 Reviews of Lionfish spearing marine conservation in Belize

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 05 Mar 2021 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The most exciting aspect was escaping from reality and living on this beautiful island with no wifi. I would start my day with a dive at 7am! I was fortunate to
have a very good group of fellow volunteers. Along with them, the staff were all amazing and very enjoyable to be around. Finally unlike as described on the
website the diet was not mainly 'plant-based'. There was a wide variety of meat and fish, cooked by a very talented chef who takes a lot of pride and care in
their work. There was always plenty of food and so I was well fuelled to dive.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you plan to take multiple courses (which I suggest as they are very cheap there and the quality of learning is high) then don't do all the e-learning. This is
expensive and unnecessary, you can a read the book which they have on the weekends off. I would say this is most applicable to courses such as Advanced,
Reduce diver and Deep Dive as with courses such as Open water and Divemaster it is useful to do the e-learning before you arrive.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I feel it benefits the local people by employing them as divemasters. The beach clean up was a real eye opener to reality of how much plastic is in the ocean.
Finally, I felt we were making a good impact to reducing lion fish, which in itself was very enjoyable.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This is one of the best holidays I have ever been on. The island is very well organised, there is no pressure to go diving and you can relax at times instead. The staff are all very knowledgeable with regards to diving and the local area. If time allowed I would certainly return in the future.

Reviewed on 20 May 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Feeling that you are contributing to the sea environment. Waking up to the beautiful sunrise and seeing the lovely sunset. Living on a tiny island for a short time.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take minimal clothing. I had too much stuff. Diving is simple so little experience needed. Organisation is a bit haphazard so be aware that you work to Belize time
and just relax. The manager Frank brought his three dogs (Two large and one pup) on to the very small island, so not a place if you are not a lover of boisterous, barking dogs.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The research underaken e.g. identifying fish or bleaching effect is probably not very scientific and is a bit hit and miss but I felt I was helping to contribute more information on the health of the reef. After seeing how many lionfish there are and their destructive effect, I was pleased to help reduce their impact. They are
also very tasty.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I really enjoyed the overall experience. I learned so much from the guides about fish, coral and the reef in their lectures and in the research. Thank you to Willie, and his team.

Reviewed on 30 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Hard to choose just one most memorable or exciting part, but if I have to choose, then it was snorkelling with the whale sharks. That was just amazing and we were so lucky to see them that close!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

One week is definitely not enough. I stayed two weeks and wish I could have stayed longer. Don't worry about finding accommodation prior/post the island stay or wandering what to do over the weekends, Jo at the operator is one of the most helpful persons I have ever met. Thanks again Jo for all your help!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, the project gives jobs to local people and provides important information for the fishery department. And of course helps with reducing the numbers of lionfish and raising awareness for marine conservation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The best diving holiday I did so far and it will be hard to beat. I learned so much about fish identification and substrates and this makes diving much more enjoyable.

Reviewed on 06 Oct 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The entire trip was a blast! Multiple dives per day without another diver in sight, unspoiled beauty of the amazing reef, incredible food, etc. etc. Everything about this trip was memorable and exciting!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Although the island accommodations are comfortable and the staff is amazing, this is not a high-end luxury trip. The staff takes good care of you, but there are a few (modest) inconveniences such as no WiFi during the day, limited fresh water and limited electricity. These are good things if you are trying to get away from it all, but would be a challenge if you are trying to conduct business. Let's face it, you should not be conducting business on a SCUBA diving trip in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, but if you want to do that, you should find another location. If you want to focus on diving with a great bunch of people, you can't do much better than this.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Absolutely. We saw the benefits for the reef first hand and saw the economic benefits when we visited a restaurant on the mainland (Asha's Kitchen) which the operator supplies with lion fish. They also have several locals on staff and works hard to use local tour guides for trips.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Overall, this holiday exceeded my expectations.

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