Dive for a cause! Join us on a Lionfish Safari.
Together with The Hunting Squad Costa Maya we carry out periodic expeditions to the reef to control the population of this highly invasive species.
The lionfish is one of the most beautiful specimens that can be seen in the coral gardens of Mahahual/Costa Maya. Unfortunately, it is a plague that threatens the marine ecosystems of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.
The nightmare began in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew destroyed an artificial aquarium off the coast of Florida. Then, two exotic species native to the Indo-Pacific, Pterois volitans and Pterois miles, commonly known as lionfish, began to colonize the new habitat. Its success has been total thanks to the absence of predators and its amazing capacity for reproduction: the female spawns every four days releasing approximately 195,000 eggs per month or 2,335,000 per year.
Worse even: they are voracious in the extreme. The increase in their presence and high predation rates are decimating the population of the reefs and mangroves that border the sea. If it is not controlled quickly, the lionfish will cause the severe decline of numerous local species. And when the fish that eat seaweed are scarce, they will proliferate in such a way that they will put corals in trouble.
So far, the only solution is fishing. In the countries of the Caribbean-Gulf of Mexico region, environmental associations try to encourage the consumption of lionfish. Because its poison is no problem: concentrated in the epidermal glands, it is a protein that denatures into amino acids, that is, food. And more and more people discover the delicious taste of their meat.
In Mar Adentro we periodically fish in the reef in front of Mahahual, thus controlling its number. But there are large sectors of the Great Mayan Barrier in which the population of this predator meets no limits. That is why we are organizing Lionfish Safaris in which divers can practice harpoon fishing and SCUBA (legal in this case) for a good cause while visiting virgin reefs where nobody else dives.
We are visiting reef sections 10 miles away from the port, well beyond the local diving area Fishing is not difficult but yet exciting: the fish does not run away from a slow approach. However, it is VERY important not to hit the reef to avoid any damage.
Risks and safety protocols
The poisoning caused by pricking the lion’s bones is not fatal, but extremely painful. The affected area becomes inflamed, sweating and nausea commonly occur or, rarely, respiratory difficulties along with a decrease in blood pressure.
Before the first dive, participants will receive a briefing in which they will explain the use of Hawaiian (harpoon), hunting techniques (approach, shooting), how to avoid damaging the coral, minimum distances, and other security protocols
To avoid accidents, the participants will only hunt the lionfish but will not manipulate it (harpoon extraction, knife auction, spine cutting, bag introduction, hauling, boating and filleting), leaving this work for the staff.
For the same reason, competencies will not be promoted, but teamwork and those who wish to do so may limit themselves to the work of tracking and localization.
A ceviche will be cooked by the staff if the amount of fish allows it.
3 tanks: 2,850 pesos.
2 tanks: 2,500 pesos.
Minimum two divers. Diving equipment and Hawaiian included.