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.
Mar 12, 2012

No-take zones: effective recovery mechanisms!

Fish stock recovered within no-take zones
Fish stock recovered within no-take zones

After only two years of the Community Fisheries project’s implementation in the Arrecife de Puerto Morelos National Park, Mexico, fish stock has shown an admirable recovery inside the established fisheries recovery sites (fish refuges or no-take zones).

Fishermen are very happy, because they have begun witnessing how spillover from recovery sites is filling their fishing grounds again, and their fish catch is increasing.

The most important outcome of this process is that the fishermen are not only taking advantage of the spillover, but since they continue to monitor inside and outside the no-take zones, they can see the difference between the two.   

Now, with proof on their minds, and convinced that no-take zones are a viable solution for coastal fisheries within Protected Areas, they can share this information with other fishing communities that are still not convinced of the effectiveness of this method.

We are designing exchange visits to other communities so that our Community Fisheries Program can grow and we can create a network of community marine reserves (no-take zones) across the MAR region.

Please continue supporting us to help us achieve this goal and spread this practical fisheries recovery solution!  

Puerto Morelos has healthy ecosystems again
Puerto Morelos has healthy ecosystems again
Mar 12, 2012

Lionfish hunting season is open!

Hawaiian sling technique to capture lionfish
Hawaiian sling technique to capture lionfish

The bad news is that lionfish population growth is not stopping.  The good news is that NGOs and authorities from Marine Protected Areas of the MAR region are working hard to prepare coastal communities and to properly certify people to capture lionfish.

Ideas such as “we need to be the main predator,” “feed them to native fish” or “bring them back to eat for dinner” are very popular these days.  To do so, people must be aware of the skills that catching this fish requires.

In Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, the Roatan Marine Park (RMP) and the Utila Center for Marine Ecology (UCME) have move forward with their lionfish workshops, and have started with the next step: training workshops to teach capture methods.

The most common methods of capture are the net and stick, which is recommended for juveniles, and the pole spear or Hawaiian sling.  This method, if done properly, is quick and safe.  The spear can be strapped to the diving oxygen tank.  

There are five important rules that must be considered when spearing, and that NGOs and authorities are making clear to certified lionfish hunters:

  1. Safety!  The Hawaiian sling is a weapon.
  2. Brief people before the hunting dive (i.e. spearing will be occurring in the near vicinity)
  3. Secure safe shots before shooting:
    1. Clear 3 meters circle around you
    2. Make sure all people are behind you
  4. Consider the reef around you (i.e. don’t hit anything, especially coral and even sponges)
  5. Never point the pole spear at anyone.
Fisherman from Roatan enjoying his lionfish catch
Fisherman from Roatan enjoying his lionfish catch
Dec 22, 2011

Holiday donation opportunity!

Dear friends,

The holidays are here, and all of us at MAR Fund are taking a moment to reflect and give thanks for those who support us.  We have received a number of donations through GlobalGiving this year, and we’re very grateful to all of you!  We’d like to take this opportunity to thank donors who prefer to remain anonymous, since we are unable to send them individual thank you notes.

We made a lot of progress this year, but there is still work to be done.  Among the multiple threats to the Mesoamerican Reef region, the lionfish invasion continues to loom large.  And so we also look forward to the coming year, and the many activities ahead of us.

Lionfish wipes out large numbers of marine species, making it more difficult for these creatures to grow to reproductive age and continue furthering the species.  The MAR Fund is supporting solutions to this issue in part through our GlobalGiving project: Lionfish Control.

Donating to the MAR Fund’s project on Global Giving is a gift to MAR region fish species.

We encourage you to make a contribution this holiday season that will directly work to control lionfish in the region.  If you’re looking for a unique gift, GlobalGiving has the solution: tribute cards. You can give in someone’s name and GlobalGiving will send them a card announcing the gift.  Right now, GlobalGiving is running a Tribute Card Challenge in which they will give $500 bonuses to the 15 projects with the most tribute donations.  Help our project break into the top 15 and finish your holiday shopping at the same time!

Give in honor of someone who loves to scuba dive, or someone who is enamored of the crystalline waters of the MAR region.  Or because you feel compassion for fish and the reef ecosystem.  Or because you think lionfish is delicious and should appear on more menus.  Or because you want to preserve the treasure that is the Mesoamerican Reef for future generations.  Whatever your reason to give, you can be confident that your donation will have a ripple effect.

Again, thank you for your support in 2011, and please consider a year-end gift to help us kick off our work in 2012!

Enjoy your holidays.  Wishing you all the best for this season and a positive start to 2012,

The MAR Fund team: María José, Claudio, Patty, Claudia, and Edgar

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