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Jefe’s Island Adventures: The Lionfish – Tasty Predators From The Sea

| clicks: 3702 | Jefe's Island Adventures, Diving, Fishing, Snorkeling   

The first thing I notice when I wake up here at Ray Caye Resort is the aroma of delicious food being prepared. The mouth-watering scent drifts across the caye from our restaurant, The Lionfish Grill. The delightful smells awaken my appetite, and I soon find myself in the office, where my own personal serving station awaits.

The Lionfish Grill plated dishes at Ray Caye Private Island Resort, Belize

Sadly, the bowl is never filled with bacon and eggs, or even fish and lobster. It contains only the unsavory, dry, tasteless nuggets provided unceremoniously by the minions each day. I must say the presentation is equally lacking. I usually take only a few bites before the smells from the kitchen prove an irresistible draw. Knowing that with just my sad eyes, I can almost always convince one of the guests to slip me something tasty, I head over as quickly as possible.

Jefe begging at Ray Caye Private Island Resort Belize

Now, I can’t tell you what my occupation was prior to becoming the Security Chief at Ray Caye because, well… you know. I don’t want to have to kill you. But I can tell you that I’ve traveled extensively and had the opportunity to taste a variety of foods prepared by talented chefs. In my opinion, few can compare to our own Lionfish Grill, and our chef is especially talented at creating our signature Lionfish dishes.Fish dishes at Ray Caye Private Island Resort in Belize

In fact, The Lionfish Grill is named after the invasive and destructive fish that terrorizes our nearby reef system. These non-native, red and orange lionfish are covered in poisonous spikes, reproduce very quickly and have ravenous appetites. They are also vicious predators, skilled hunters and are devastating to our local fish populations. Unfortunately, the lionfish have very few predators due to their venomous spikes.

Lionfish like this one can be hunted at Hatchet Caye Private Island Resort Belize

However, because these non-native lionfish are hazardous to the equilibrium of our reef, it’s legal to dive and spear for them right at the reef, an activity that can prove to be very exciting. Luckily, my minions here at Ray Caye Resort can even arrange trips for guests to do just that, and can provide tridents and diving equipment for those who want to try their hand at spearing the one of the invasive and destructive species.

Lionfish hunting at Ray Caye Private Island Resort Belize

I’ve never speared a lionfish, of course, because I can neither deep-sea dive nor hold a spear. But I’ve heard the thrilling stories from the guests who have done it. And of course, I’ve even tasted a few morsels when they’ve had their catch cooked up for dinner. It may sound exotic to eat a lionfish, but it’s actually delightful, light to the taste, and often compared to swordfish.

Lionfish at Ray Caye Private Island Resort Belize with Pirate Reef Divers

While spearing lionfish can be risky, as the sting of a lionfish can be very painful, it’s a rewarding activity that helps to reduce the endangerment of our local species. I’m thinking perhaps I need to convince our island dive shop to invent an apparatus that would allow an adventurous dachshund like myself to stay underwater. I’d be willing to try my hand, or paw, at it. I’m quite sure that with my lightning fast reflexes, I’d be successful!


In 2019 Hatchet Caye changed its name to Ray Caye. Because of this, some of the older blog posts will refer to Hatchet Caye and the newer ones will refer to Ray Caye. Either way, they are the same private island you have come to love.