This September, the dangerous but delicious Lionfish will be making a dramatic appearance in the always colorful and exciting carnival road march, a key attraction in Belize’s national celebration activities. Oceana is a proud sponsor of the Soca Moca Carnival Band, who has decided to use this national platform to bring attention to a critical issue for our marine environment: the lionfish. According to organizer Audrey Bradley, “Soca Moca is boldly portraying the Lionfish in splendor but this intruder has taught us that everything that glitters is not gold! Lionfish are not native to Belize; they have a huge appetite for other fish and they reproduce at alarming rates.”
Oceana’s Vice President for Belize Janelle Chanona applauded Soca Moca for their efforts to increase awareness about the lionfish. “This invasive species is eating its way through Belize’s juvenile fish populations. Surveys at local fish markets show that so are we--more than 80 percent of the fish we are catching, selling and eating are juveniles. If we continue to eat juveniles, and we don’t cull lionfish, the consequences will be severe for all of us.”
The great news is that lionfish, once relieved of its venomous fins, is a delicious, low-cost, healthy alternative to eating juvenile fish and simultaneously helps to eradicate the invasive species. On Sunday August 17th, as part of Oceana’s sponsorship of the band , Soca Moca revelers were treated to lionfish samples during their practice session at the Roger’s Stadium in Belize City. With freshly caught lionfish provided by Aldo Perez of Hugh Parkey Dive Connection and the Placencia Producers Cooperative, the fish was filleted, lightly seasoned and served hot from the frying pan. And the proof was in the eating. The chef could barely keep up with the demand for the tasty white fish; and from all ages!
Please click https://www.flickr.com/photos/125277384@N05/sets/72157646194646590/ for photos of the sampling event. For more information on Soca Moca, please contact Audrey Bradley at 622-2117. For more information on Oceana’s efforts to increase protection for Belize’s juvenile fish campaign, please call 822-2792, visit our website or Oceana in Belize’s Facebook page.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 600,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America, Asia and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.