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 20, 2012

Simple techniques to estimate lionfish population

According to the Report Card 2012 for the Mesoamerican Reef of the Healthy Reefs Initiative (HRI), there are two important and disturbing facts about lionfish:

  • Lionfish are larger and more abundant on invaded reefs than in their natural habitat, and
  • Lionfish are always in season 

At their own rythm and possibilities, Fisheries and Protected Areas Authorities within the MAR have taken management actions that can decrease the extent of the lionfish invasion.

Also, as mentioned in our previous update report, Eloy Sosa PhD, from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) in Chetumal, Mexico, has developed a protocol that includes two simple methodologies to estimate lionfish population.

Fishing tournaments

These have become a very successful activity and widely accepted among authorities, civil society and the general community. The distinct advantage of these tournaments is that achieve multiple objectives simultaneously. In particular, being open mode activity to the local community and even tourists, fishing tournaments can be exploited for the purpose of environmental education and awareness, also capturing intense concentrated in an area bounded by what cause a real decline in lionfish abundance locally, at least for a while.

Depletion experiments: short-term successive captures

This method involves removal capture experiments or applied successively in a short period of time, with two to five successive occasions applied capture a set of stations or sub-areas within a selected target area in advance. In this case it is particularly critical that the experiment is short-term, that the whole series of successive catches check within five to seven days. This section considers a week: seven days, maximum duration of the experiment and a number of two to five times or successive revisions-with catching fish.

We will be happy to share with you the results of these two techniques as soon as any of them is being implemented in the MAR region. 

Once again, we would like to thank you for your constant support to face one of the main threats the measoamerican reef has these days.

Dec 11, 2012

Fishers / co-managers starting their new role!

In recognition of the importance of this signing of the fisheries co-management agreement as a first step towards conservation of fishing resources and marine ecosystems, authorities from the Council of Protected Areas (CONAP), the Fisheries Department (DIPESCA) and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) organized an official ceremony for the delivery of the signed agreement on September 18.

These are the first fisheries recovery areas (no take zones) established in Guatemala, and the first co-management agreement signed between authorities and fishermen.  Through this experience, 345 ha (853 acres) are being protected.

CONAP and Fundacion Mario Dary (FUNDARY), an NGO supporting the fishermen in the zone, have been participants in this process since the beginning.  As part of the supportive activities, they started a training process on management of coastal marine protected areas with the fishermen. Among the topics that have been covered to date are: Communication techniques and participatory planning of marine protected areas, and management of marine protected areas.

  • FUNDARY has also evaluated the biological indicators in one of the fisheries recovery areas and biomass in the three established areas.  The estimations of biomass among the three fisheries recovery sites vary from 0.001 g/cm2 in two sites to 6 g/cm2 in the third one.
  • Two meetings have been held with the three fishing communities of Bahía La Graciosa to design an action plan for the co-management area and the three fisheries recovery sites.
  • The training process began with the participation of the fishing communities of Santa Isabel, Punta Gruesa and La Graciosa.

We are very excited that our efforts and your support are gathering together organizations to keep supporting the fishing communities who have just started their new important role as co-managers.

Sep 10, 2012

Synergies to decrease the lionfish population

Even with certified lionfish hunters in Honduras, and volunteers and fishers in Belice and Mexico, the lionfish continues to spread its invasion in the Mesoamerican Reef.

Hunting tournaments or 'derbies' have been organized in several areas of the MAR to eliminate as much of lionfish population as possible.

Eloy Sosa, a high standing professor from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) in Chetumal, Mexico, is working on a methodology to estimate lionfish density taking advantage of these derbies.  He is designing a methodology, also to estimate density but to be implemented by fishers, dive guides, NGOs and/or more volunteers.

The Healthy Reefs Initiative has also identified and named the lionfish one of the main threats to the MAR region, along with climate change, overfishing and others. 

We have got to keep supporting all these efforts, we cannot let this exotic animal to destroy our beautiful reef!

Please, let's help all these organizations and initiatives accomplish their goals to control lionfish!

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