Cook Lionfish: Recipes Suitable for Any White Fish (Paperback)
In 2003, Polly Alford Founded Reef Conservation International (Reef CI). A nonprofit marine conversation organization that through tourism, focused on the general health of the coral reefs and commercial species in Southern Belize.
In 2009, ReefCI created a lionfish program concentrating on removing lionfish, dissecting them and collecting data. The program became their primary conservation project, together with an initiative to create awareness and vertical markets. 7 years later, during 2016 the same organization removed over 7,000 lionfish
Through various schemes, they helped Belize establish a culture that placed a value on lionfish. In the beginning, the general consensus in Belize was that lionfish was poisonous and people were afraid to eat it
Spreading awareness through social media, booths at events and through their guests, Reef CI helped change that perception. Every week Polly did a presentation about lionfish to an average of 14 people on visiting sailboats. They also got to taste different lionfish dishes.
When the guests asked what they could do to help, it was suggested that they go back to Placencia village and ask for lionfish in restaurants. This helped create a demand If there is a desire to eat a particular fish at restaurants, there is a desire to fish that species.
Restaurants are now demanding lionfish in Belize and fisherman are being paid a high dollar value per pound for lionfish. In November 2015, Polly got invited to San Andres, Colombia to talk at the Forum of Sustainable Tourism on Small Islands.
"Belize is a model for us in conservation and environmental protection, especially in the application of lionfish population and strategies. We could not find a better example of that than you guys are doing at ReefCI in Belize"