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, 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!

Sep 10, 2012

Punta de Manabique, mission accomplished !!

Bahia La Graciosa fishing co-management map
Bahia La Graciosa fishing co-management map

We are very happy to share with you the exciting news that on July, 2012, the first fishing co-management agreement between authorities and civil society was signed in Guatemala.

Now, fishermen of the four communities from Bahía La Graciosa and Puerto Barrios will share responsibilities with the authorities to protect and preserve their fishing resources inside the bay. The agreement consists in providing the fishermen a co-management area and three fisheries recovery sites.

This remarkable event was taken as an example for other fishing communities of the Guatemalan Caribbean.  They are all waiting to see the results that the fisheries recovery sites will bring - more fish.

Although the agreement is already signed, there is a lot of work to do. Fishers and authorities have to design and implement an action plan for the co-management area and the recovery sites. This consist on meetings, paper work, designing of monitoring methodologies, capacity building, equipment, etc.

We are certain that with your help we will be able to support this extraordinary group of persons that only want to ensure fishing resources in a sustainable manner for their children.

Thanks for all your support!

Authorities and fishers showing the agreement
Authorities and fishers showing the agreement

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