British Virgin Islands 🇻🇬
This overseas British colony is part of a volcanic archipelago made up of some 60 islands and cays (the most well known islands are Tortola and Virgin Gorda). Only two miles northeast of the US Virgin Islands, the BVI are a boater’s paradise and is a favorite holiday destination for the rich and famous!
You’ll need deep pockets to stay at some of the luxurious resorts here but there are also some reasonable accommodations and a lot of fun activities to enjoy and fascinating things to see during your stay.
In 2010 when the lionfish problem became a concern, diving operations were given spearguns in an attempt to control the problem by the fisheries department. Apparently, a few years later these efforts were ended for some reason by the minister of Natural Resources and Labour. However, one diving operation today tells us that currently, “lionfish spearguns are distributed to the dive shops on the island and other people such as charter boat captains by the National Parks Organization. We have been spearing lionfish now for quite some time and the numbers have been reduced drastically”. Good to hear. The same shop also pointed out that, “Spearfishing without a license can carry a $10,000 fine!”. .
When asked about lionfish studies or research in the BVIs the answer was “none”.
A few diving services who take guests out are listed below.
I would certainly recommend going out on a ‘licensed’ charter boat to experience any lionfish culling in the British Virgin Islands. You may not be permitted to actually spear any but at least you could help to spot them. It all helps right? I suggest that you ask the boat captain if they are authorized to cull lionfish to be sure.
Blue Water Divers
284 494 2847
Sail Caribbean Divers
284 541 3483
284 344 2766
Dive BVI / Scrub Island
284 541 9818
To name a few. There are others.
As to where can visitors sample a delicious lionfish meal? You may be out of luck unfortunately, as there is a fear of the ciguatera poisoning in that region.
The local authority is the BVI Conservation and Fisheries Department in the capital city of Road Town, if you need more information. Their phone is 284 468 274.
So, in conclusion, the British Virgin Islands have been trying to control their lionfish invasion problem in their own way and it seems like the efforts of the local diving operations is having an effect. The authorities are reluctant to allow visitors or anyone else to spear them, so best to leave your personal spearfishing equipment at home if you are planning a trip to BVI.
Reporting for Lionfish University
Lionator Pole Spears