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.
Sep 14, 2011

The lionfish control efforts have begun!!

Lionfish can be found everywhere these days in the MAR region. In Roatan, Bay Islands Complex, Honduras, for example, you can find it as soon as you hit the water right under any dock or hiding in mangrove roots. It can also be found two hundred feet below the water surface. 

As part of the control campaign activities, the Utila Center for Marine Ecology (UCME) and the Roatan Marine Park (RMP) have delivered informative workshops to the population in general in the islands. Topics like the threat, biology, distribution and habits of lionfish have been covered so that people know what they are dealing with.

Now, people are aware that lionfish have over 15 venomous spines, they can survive for 12 weeks with no food because their stomachs can expand to 30 times its regular size, have a taste for shrimp, lobster and lots of kinds of fish, have a lifespan of 5 – 10 years and can reach 42 cm in length.  They reach sexual maturity at 1 year and can produce 30,000 eggs at a time.

We understand that eradication is highly improvable. However, we can make an effort to control it and to keep dive sites as free of lionfish as possible. UCME and RMP are preparing a series of training workshops to address NGOs, authorities and fishermen and to explain the most common capture method.

To do this, we need to raise at least US$ 1,500 to prepare all the needed material and equipment. We are confident that with your support and collaboration, we will be able to prepare and develop these workshops.  Thanks so much!

Aug 26, 2011

Fisheries co-management in Punta de Manabique

Puerto Barrios co-management approval meeting
Puerto Barrios co-management approval meeting

The three fishing communities that are involved in the co-management project within La Graciosa Bay; La Graciosa, Laguna Santa Isabel and Punta Gruesa have achieved interesting advances and are walking the right way on their co-management project in Guatemala.

The co-management area and the three no-take zones proposed by these fishing communities were discussed with the fishermen of Puerto Barrios, another fishing community that fish within La Graciosa Bay. Five representatives from Puerto Barrios went on a boat ride to confirm the location of the proposed areas and confirmed and jointly approved them.  They all agree that the proposed no-take zones are among an important reproductive site within the Bay. This was a very important step for the project because there used to be rivalry between these groups for the fishing resources inside the Bay, but now they all have realized that the only way to preserve them is to stand for them together. This way, all fishing effort dependable is involved in and compromised with the project.

La Graciosa Bay neighbour fishing communities have started to show interest in the co-management initiative and they want to know more about how it works and what the benefits this will bring to fishing resources, therefore, to fishermen, are.

We are confident that next update will tell you more good news and progresses about this project.  Thank you all again for your priceless support!  

Jun 13, 2011

The current lionfish invasion within the MAR reef

The exotic Lionfish (Pterois volitans) has invaded the Mesoamerican reef. This species is a predatory venomous fish that has no natural predators in the Caribbean, so it can significantly reduce biodiversity of the local habitat. It can drive important fish species to extinction, negatively affecting the MAR reef ecosystem and reducing the income to the coastal communities that depend on sustainable fishing activities within the region.

There are several local initiatives trying to control the lionfish. However, we need to embrace it and treat it as a regional issue in order to obtain a real impact on its population management.

Attached you will find a couple of videos that are being promoted by two entities: the Healthy Reef Initiative and the Roatan Marine Park. The first one shows a technique to train MAR reef native species to eat lionfish. The second one is promoting the lionfish fillet for human consumption.

Both initiatives are very worthy as control and management strategies; but it must be clear that lionfish cannot be consider a part of the MAR reef biodiversity or an income source to its fishing communities under any circumstance. Since it’s a terrible threat not only to other fish but crustaceous, coral species and even humans, it is imperative that its population decreases as much as possible.

I take this opportunity to invite you to donate and participate during GlobalGiving Bonus Day on June 15th! During that day and only that day GlobalGiving will match all donations at 30% up to $US1,000 per donor per project. There will be funds available in matching funds only during June 15th. Only on-line donations are eligible for matching. We encourage you to made donations in early, because matching funds will likely run out before the end of the day.

Thank you very much for supproting this initiative! The fishing communities within the MAR reef and its entire ecosystem appreciatte it the most!

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