‘Wa gine on?’
Located in the lower Lesser Antilles or Windward Islands, Barbados was a small British Colony that became an independent Country on November 30th 1966. English is the main language here and it is a very popular vacation destination and cruise ship stop today.
Diving and snorkeling is amazing in Barbados! There are some 200 wrecks to explore and lots to see on its beautiful coral reefs in crystal clear water. You have several dive shops and diving services to choose from. We’ll list a few below to get you started.
Lionfish were first discovered in this part of the world off the southern shores of Florida in the mid-eighties, and by November 2011 they appeared around Barbados.
At this time there really are no rules and regulations regarding the hunting of lionfish or spearfishing in general. While some of the dive shops frown on spearfishing, there are a few who host lionfish culling tours such as Spearfishing Barbados who were highly recommended. (1246 230 8580)
When we asked Caroline at ECCO Inc. (East Coast Conservation Organization) about rules and regulations she told us “there are no rules and regulations on spearguns and polespears. Tourists can hunt anywhere here except in the Marine Reserve. The Island has organized many lionfish derbies where all are invited to hunt.” She adds: “Unfortunately we haven’t gotten strict on spearfishing so it’s kind of a free for all.” Thank you, Caroline!
Today there are some locals who hunt lionfish for a living and supply them to restaurants so sampling some shouldn’t be too difficult. A few were suggested …. Catch22 on Sunset Pt in Salmond, and SeaCat and Oistins among others occasionally serve lionfish. I would call ahead to be sure though!
The Barbados Fisheries Division is concerned about the lionfish invasion and the overfishing of native fish species so they are considering the creation of additional marine reserves. Carlisle Bay for instance has seen damage from illegal set nets and pots so it is on their list. They are also trying to encourage a commercial fishery for lionfish to help control them and to take pressure off the other fish species.
There does not appear to be any kind of lionfish trap research going on in Barbados to date.
Here are a few of the many diving services .…. (there are several others)
Hightide Water Sports in St James
1246 432 0931
The Dive Shop Ltd. Bridgetown
1246 426 9947
Barbados Blue Water Sports, Bridgetown
1246 434 5764
Eco Dive Barbados, Bridgetown
1246 243 5816
The local authority is Mr Stephen Willoughby at the Fisheries Division.
1246 426 3745
So definitely consider Barbados if you’re into hunting lionfish and I’d bring along a travel size polespear if you have one as they seem to be in short supply.
Happy hunting and thank you for helping to save our reefs!
Lionator Pole Spears