Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund)

To inspire innovative, transnational solutions to critical Mesoamerican reef issues through providing meaningful, long-term financial support and trustworthy reef management advice so that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a thriving reef.
Dec 15, 2014

Lionfish exploitation strategy: great idea!

The Belize Fisheries Department is looking for funds to develop their national lionfish exploitation strategy.  A proposal to work in South Water Caye and Port Honduras Marine Reserves was submitted to MAR Fund, but this forms part of a larger project that takes place across the Belize Barrier Reef System.

As outlined in the Mesoamerican Reef Lionfish Strategy design, lionfish control must be addressed differently in areas accessible to fishers, No Take Zones and the deep sea. The proposal focuses on lionfish control in areas accessible to fishers and provides recommendations for management within No Take Zones. The primary output of this proposal is providing a framework for development of a ‘lionfishery’ that optimizes social, environmental and economic dynamics. It also provides site-specific targets for lionfish control within South Water Caye and Port Honduras Marine Reserves.

Even though it sounds ambotious, their goal is that, by December 2015 a ten-year lionfish exploitation strategy for Belize’s barrier reef system has been developed in partnership with Blue Ventures, international fisheries stock assessment experts, and international lionfish management experts, providing a framework for the management of a ‘lionfishery’ that minimizes negative environmental impacts of the invasion, whilst maximizing socioeconomic benefits of fisheries diversification, alongside site-specific management targets for South Water Caye and Port Honduras Marine Reserves.

We strongly believe in the capacity of the Fisheries Department and Blue Ventures, that is why we encourage them to continue looking for funds to complete the national strategy, and we encourage you to support them by donating to us so we can continue supporting the control of lionfish in the MAR.

We will let you know how this strategy works!

Dec 15, 2014

Fishermen plan management strategies in Sarstun

Fishermen designing management strategies
Fishermen designing management strategies

After a two-phase project of participatory design of fish refuges and fisheries co-management areas in the Río Sarstún Multiple Use Area in Guatemala, the fishermen have achieved very important results such as:

  • A research protocol was designed to establish the baseline for commercial fish species
  • Five monitoring exercises developed inside and outside the proposed refuges
  • Two workshops organized for the fishing communities of San Juan, Cocolí and Barra Sarstún to determine:

                 - Three conservation targets for the two fish refuges: mangroves, sea grass beds and commercial fish species

                 - Most relevant threats for these targets: climate change, pollution by agrochemicals, habitat loss and overfishing

                 - Strategies for conservation and good management of the fish refuges design:               

                             * Environmental education

                             * Constant biological monitoring

                             * Strengthening control and surveillance within the fish refuges through community participation

                             * Identification of alternative income

  • Co-management agreement draft for the fish refuges in Barra Sarstún / Laguna Grande and Cocolí were completed and sent to hte National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP)
  • A training plan on the AGRRA methodology was designed for the monitoring of corals and different species of fish to further capacity building of the fishers trained in scuba in 2013
  • Materials were purchased for the San Juan collection center, including two stainless steel tables and two sets of professional knives. 

We are very confident that these fishing communities will continue to grow their capacities and will have very productive fish refuges.

We will let you know about their progress!

Equippment purchased for the collection center
Equippment purchased for the collection center
Sep 17, 2014

MAR lionfish Regional Strategy...almost ready!

After the regional workshop for the development of a regional strategy for the control of lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef, a first draft of the document was distributed to the participants so that they could provide comments and recommendations to it.

The National Council of Protected Areas of Guatemala offered the technical support for the layout of the document using high technology and a great staff.

While the document is getting ready, a couple of proposals to support local initiatives in Belize and Guatemala are being prepared based on the information and experiences shared during the workshop and the final draft of the regional strategy.

We have great expectations regarding the regional strategy.  It will launch a lot of local projects and initiatives that will represent regional progress towards the control of this invasive species.

We will let you know when the strategy is ready!

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