Lionfish are invasive species of fish that have been pillaging Belize’s reef and marine life for several years. They have no known predators but are ferocious predators themselves and have the ability to reproduce in as little as four days. If that isn’t an eye opener for ya, just picture this: their stomachs can expand up to 30 times its normal size! I think that establishes the fact that this isn’t your normal guppy! So if they aren’t being eaten and they’re the ones doing all the munching, just think about what’s going on in our waters ….. Uninterrupted buffet!
But if there’s one thing I know about us Belizeans it’s that we love our sun, sand and sea, so that means two things: Don’t mess with our beaches and reef! So don’t think we let them off the hook that easy (no pun intended). As word got out that these predators were here, reef lovers quickly organized Lionfish tournaments and food competitions to help eradicate these tasty little suckers from our waters. And while all these methods help, there is always more than can be done.
So if you’re not one to cast a net or throw a line (like myself), but still want to do your part in saving our reef, maybe you should think about wearing them. Yes, you heard right. Creative minds and very talented hands have been busy at work designing Lionfish jewelry.
Let us introduce you to one of these amazing minds, Petrona Hun.
Petrona grew up in the village of Silver Creek, Toledo where she was intrigued by the art of crafting and designing at a very young age. She learned traditional Maya designs from village elders and incorporated ideas into her sewing, embroidery and basket weaving.
While jewelry crafting has always been one of Petrona’s many talents she was introduced to eco- friendly jewelry and the idea of incorporating lion fish spines into her designs at an entrepreneurship training by the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE). When Petrona found out just how these predators were affecting our oceans, she jumped on board, and decided to help by doing what she knows best: creating an entire line of handcrafted lionfish jewelry designs!
Petrona believes in keeping her designs as nature intended it to be, so she uses all natural elements for each piece. While she provides the natural looks for the customers that prefer the “less is best” look, Petrona also incorporates feathers and other natural beads to provide embellished looks for those looking to add a little polish to their outfit.
So the next time you’re looking for that perfect accessory or present, check her work out! And look great while supporting a great cause.
For more information on Petrona’s designs and her amazing lionfish collection, check out her page Maya’s Handcrafted Jewelry on Facebook!