Menacing Lionfish Made into Gorgeous Jewelry in Placencia, Belize

Lionfish are an invasive non-native fish that have infested our reef and are doing some serious damage to the coral and to the native fish species.   They are also the only fish that you can spear and kill while scuba diving in Belize.  (Others must be caught outside of protected areas and by free diving only.)

We have tournaments to see how many of these menacing beasts can be killed.  Here are about 1000 of them at the Placencia Lobsterfest Lionfish Tournament.

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But here is the ironic thing – This evil fish is also stunningly beautiful when you see them swimming in the water.

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Photo from CharlesStone.com
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Pretty as it may be, LUCKILY it is also delicious.  Hard to clean with it’s poisonous spikes, yes.  But it has some delicious fish fingers and is perfect for ceviche with firm, white flesh similar (in my mind) to monkfish or even lobster.

Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant in Ambergris Caye prepares it quite a few ways and I’ve tasted the fish across Belize from Placencia to Punta Gorda.

Here it is listed on Asha’s menu in PG – done three ways.

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And being offered for sampling at a booth at Punta Gorda’s May Chocolate Street Festival.

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BUT…there is another way to do your part fighting this fish.  (Don’t you like when it takes me 200 words to get to the point?  An actual newspaper editor would not approve.)

I have heard and seen (on facebook and at a booth at the Lobsterfest) about Kaj Expressions.  A Belizean woman in Placencia making beautiful jewelry from the lionfish spines and I wanted to meet her and take a closer look.  We finally coordinated a meeting…

And bonus – she gave me an AWESOME tip about Thai food Friday in Placencia.  (But that is in another post.)

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Not easy to miss right on the Main Street – this sign also alerts you.  Love the gems…

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Her shop has beautiful things from other artists…like some of my fave seaglass jewelry.

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This simple pretty beads from Jamaica.

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And then beautiful Kaj Assales and her creations.  Here she is…

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And her earrings that I didn’t buy but really wanted to…

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And then the STUNNING lionfish jewelry.  Follow her Facebook page to see updates as she designs more.  NONE of these were in the shop…she sells out quickly.  I mean…seriously…bring one of these necklaces home.  Wear it with a simple dress or a white collared button down?  And you have everyone you know jell-jell-jealous.

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Her twisted wire pieces are beautiful too.  I think this one and only name necklace in the shop might have been a sign…

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And I LOVE this seaglass and silver wire piece…I think I’ll have to return.

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Beautiful creations and passionate about educating people about the serious problems the Lionfish are causing?  What is not to love?  Stop in and see Kaj when you are in Placencia.  Her art is beautiful and very reasonably priced.

Check her out on Facebook for great pictures and lots of updates.  And take a list of some of my other favorite shops in Placencia – they have some very talented artists there.

And for additional info on Kaj check out this recent story in the San Pedro Sun.

There you go.  Wear beautiful jewelry.  Kill Lionfish.  Easy.






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  • Oooh, that last necklace…WANT. She has mad talent!

    • Belize Blog

      Wait…that’s MINE! Or at least, I love love love that one. Maybe she can make more…

      • You certainly have dibs on it…and much better access! But I do love it insanely.

  • disqus_bW21UudAOU

    How about a link to the Belize regulations for spearfishing, and catching lobster, crab,and conch. Would really like to know want methods are allowed and when the seasons for harvesting are.

    • Belize Blog

      That’s a great idea. Thanks. In fact, I should write a whole post on that!