Drug-resistant mycobacteria are a rising problem worldwide. There is an urgent need to understand the immune response to tuberculosis to identify host targets that, if targeted therapeutically, could be used to tackle these currently untreatable infections. In this study we use an Il-1β fluorescent transgenic line to show that there is an early innate immune proinflammatory response to well-established zebrafish models of inflammation and Mycobacterium marinum infection. We demonstrate that host-derived hypoxia signaling, mediated by the Hif-1α transcription factor, can prime macrophages with increased levels of Il-1β in the absence of infection, upregulating neutrophil antimicrobial NO production, leading to greater protection against infection. Our data link Hif-1α to proinflammatory macrophage Il-1β transcription in vivo during early mycobacterial infection and importantly highlight a host protective mechanism, via antimicrobial NO, that decreases disease outcomes and that could be targeted therapeutically to stimulate the innate immune response to better deal with infections.