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 11, 2013

Lionfish cook off in Guatemalan restaurant

Fishers and authorities jointly catching lionfish
Fishers and authorities jointly catching lionfish

After the success reached by the lion fish cook off during the National Food Fair in September, fishermen from Quetzalito, a small fishing village from the Guatemalan Caribbean, with the support of DIPESCA (Fisheries Administration) and Water Quest, a dive shop committed with some groups of fishermen, brought lionfish to a prestigious Spanish restaurant in Guatemala City.  

During the event, several lionfish dishes were served to the participants, that included: NGOs, GOs, private sector and general public.  All dishes were a complete success, giving the impression that lionfish might be well accepted as a gourmet meal.

The community of Quetzalito is really looking forward to start commercializing lionfish as an economic alternative as they know they wouldn't be just earning income but collaborating with the reef ecosystem of their country. 

Now that Guatemala has joined the lionfish battle in the MAR region, a regional workshop is starting to be planned to develop a MAR strategy to face the lionfih invasion.  Individual and local measures have to be shared and expanded at a regional level.  Even when is not a warranty, It is the best way to address this issue.

We will keep you posted about this workshop and will let you know if Quetzalito becomes a lionfish supplier for Guatemala city.

Thank you very much for your support!

The MAR Fund Team

Lionfish ceviche served at the cook off
Lionfish ceviche served at the cook off
Sep 16, 2013

Lionfish is ready to cook in Guatemala

Last Saturday, September 07, a second lionfish derby was held with the Quetzalito fishing community, again in the site known as Motagüilla in Punta de Manabique.

This time, the goal was a much more interesting one.  The National Food Fair was going to be held in Guatemala City from Monday 9 to Wednesday 11, and the fishers, with support from Scuba Dive Shops, Dim Sum Restaurant, GOs and NGOs, wanted to promote lionfish conssumption during this event.

It is important to mention that the owner of Dim Sum Restaurant already has a cooperation agreement with MAR Fund, and he donates a percent of the profit generated by certain dishes of his restaurant, for sustainable fishing projects.

During the derby, sixty eight lionfish were hunted thanks to thirty six brave divers. The amount of fish was not much, but it was just fine for the Food Fair.  The hunted lionfish were brought to the fair and a cook off was set to all participants in the fair. Many people had the experince of tasting the delicious lionfish meat.

As a result of this initiative, a group of restaurants, including Dim Sum, became really interested in including lionfish to their menus. Fishers are very excited to start selling this new product while protecting the reef by extracting this invasive and harmful species.

Links:

Sep 13, 2013

Great progress in Cuyamel - Omoa National Park

Monitoring of fish in the Chachaguala lagoon
Monitoring of fish in the Chachaguala lagoon

The NGO Cuerpos de Conservación de Omoa, co-adminsitrator of the Cuyamel - Omoa National Park, has done an extraordinary diagnosis on the status of the fisheries resources within the protected area.  This diagnostic was developed jointly with fishers from several coastal communities: Chachaguala, Muchilena, Villa San Martín, Masca, El Paraíso, among others.  These communities are worried about the decrease of the resources and want to support the fisheries recovery site initiative. 

The staff from the NGO divided the protected area in three main sites: river, lagoon and reef. Then they did monitor each of the sites so that the fishers could notice the relation and linkage among the ecosystems and its respective species.

The results of the monitoring were socialized with the fishers who learned about the importance that each ecosystem has for the different stages of the life cycle of every fish sepcies.  With these results, they all agreed the area to propose as a fisheries recovery site.

We are very excited that they are now preparing the demarcation bouys for the fisheries recovery zones and close to submit the are proposed to the authorities and to begin the legal process to become co-administrators of their own fishing resources.

We will keep you posted about their next promising steps! 

Fishers preparing recovery sites demarcation bouys
Fishers preparing recovery sites demarcation bouys

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