Lionfish dive trip in Belize

“A chance for experienced divers to take part in a marine conservation project in the waters off Belize, with full briefings and training provided.”


Stay at Bacalar Chico Dive Camp, in a beautiful Marine Reserve | two days of scientific lectures | four days Lionfish population survey dives | one day spent reviewing the week’s findings

Description of Lionfish dive trip in Belize

If you want something more adventurous than an ordinary dive holiday, then this Lionfish culling project in Belize gives you the chance to combine your passion for the underwater world with essential marine conservation work, while staying at a simple camp in the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your hosts are an award winning organisation whose accolades include Best Volunteering Organisation in the 2015 Global Youth Travel Awards.

Project Highlights:

- Learn how to control the invasive lionfish population through surveys, hunting and dissection, contributing to crucial local and regional research.
- Work with leading international scientists.
- Improve your skills through daily dives in a UNESCO World Heritage reef system.
- Sleep in eco-cabins on a white sand beach next to the Caribbean Sea.

Project summary:
Lionfish culling is a form of marine conservation that gives native species a chance of survival against an invasive predator; and this project places you on the front line in the battle to save the reef. The first lionfish invasion was recorded in coastal waters off Florida in the 1980s, apparently caused by both deliberate and accidental releases from private and public aquariums. Lionfish were first found in Belizean waters in 2008, and their population has exploded. They have no natural predators in these waters and aggressively consume juvenile fish, making them one of the greatest threats to marine life in the Caribbean.

As well as contributing to essential research, data collection and monitoring, you’ll take part in daily lionfish culls while scuba diving in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve.

Who can volunteer?
Anyone can volunteer to join our projects as long as they already have a PADI Advanced Open Water certificate or equivalent. Training in marine research and on-the-ground conservation will be provided. On average group sizes are around eight people.

Your base for the week will be one of our communal eco-cabins on a beautiful beach next to the Caribbean sea.

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?

Check dates

For departure dates contact us on 01273 823 700
Holiday type

Volunteer travel - what's it all about

Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, or on a gap year or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the world’s most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you! Volunteers tend to have a sense of adventure, and come from a range of different backgrounds and from all over the world.
Edward Abbey said 'sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul'.

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.

This volunteer expedition is focused on the collection of meaningful data which is used to develop sustainable local environmental management plans for the unique reef systems. These plans focus on improving the quality of life of the local communities who depend on these marine resources, while maintaining the biological diversity and productivity of the reefs.
Every effort is made to minimise the environmental impact of our expeditions. At our remote dive camp in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve electricity is provided by a generator and this is limited to a few hours per day to reduce fuel use. In addition diving activity is organised to reduce boat time and fuel use, for example, wherever possible diving and training occurs at near shore sites and multi-tank dives are used to reduce the need for return trips to base to collect new dive tanks. Volunteers are requested to bring only bio-degradable products, and to minimise the amount of packaged goods that are brought into the marine reserve. We operate a buy local food policy that reduces packaging, carbon miles and ensures that volunteers get local food that contributes more to local economies.

The Impacts of this Trip

Through our presence in the area and through discussions with local fishers we came to understand the issue of the invasive lionfish, which has no native predators outside its original home, preys on juvenile reef fish and therefore poses a huge threat to Belize’s fisheries. One of the main focuses of our research in Belize is investigating the impact they’re having, finding solutions to reducing this impact, raising awareness of the issue and improving the lives of local communities affected by it. In order to maximise economic output from Blue Ventures’ lionfish activity, we have organised lionfish jewellery training workshops to teach communities how to utilise the removed spines and fins, which have now trained more than 30 jewellers and Sarteneja now has 7 active lionfish jewellers.

As a result of our educational work about the lionfish, fishers are now catching and selling the high quality meat to restaurants where previously there was no financial incentive to do so. In 2010 no restaurants were serving lionfish, our last survey found that Lionfish is now being served in 9% of restaurants in the country. These activities diversify and increase income to fishers as well as enhance our conservation efforts.


Popular similar holidays

Marine conservation in Belize

Marine conservation in Belize

Help us protect coral reefs and marine ecosystems

From US $1330 5 days excluding flights

Lionfish spearing marine conservation in Belize

Lionfish spearing marine conservation in Belize

Help us protect reef ecosystems by hunting invasive species

From US $1330 5 days excluding flights

Conservation volunteering in Belize

Conservation volunteering in Belize

Join an award winning research team in Belize

From £895 7 days excluding flights

Belize marine conservation internship

Belize marine conservation internship

Hands-on conservation experience on idyllic Caribbean island

From US $3460 4 weeks excluding flights

Convert currencies