The Belize Fisheries Department is looking for funds to develop their national lionfish exploitation strategy. A proposal to work in South Water Caye and Port Honduras Marine Reserves was submitted to MAR Fund, but this forms part of a larger project that takes place across the Belize Barrier Reef System.
As outlined in the Mesoamerican Reef Lionfish Strategy design, lionfish control must be addressed differently in areas accessible to fishers, No Take Zones and the deep sea. The proposal focuses on lionfish control in areas accessible to fishers and provides recommendations for management within No Take Zones. The primary output of this proposal is providing a framework for development of a ‘lionfishery’ that optimizes social, environmental and economic dynamics. It also provides site-specific targets for lionfish control within South Water Caye and Port Honduras Marine Reserves.
Even though it sounds ambotious, their goal is that, by December 2015 a ten-year lionfish exploitation strategy for Belize’s barrier reef system has been developed in partnership with Blue Ventures, international fisheries stock assessment experts, and international lionfish management experts, providing a framework for the management of a ‘lionfishery’ that minimizes negative environmental impacts of the invasion, whilst maximizing socioeconomic benefits of fisheries diversification, alongside site-specific management targets for South Water Caye and Port Honduras Marine Reserves.
We strongly believe in the capacity of the Fisheries Department and Blue Ventures, that is why we encourage them to continue looking for funds to complete the national strategy, and we encourage you to support them by donating to us so we can continue supporting the control of lionfish in the MAR.
We will let you know how this strategy works!
After the regional workshop for the development of a regional strategy for the control of lionfish in the Mesoamerican Reef, a first draft of the document was distributed to the participants so that they could provide comments and recommendations to it.
The National Council of Protected Areas of Guatemala offered the technical support for the layout of the document using high technology and a great staff.
While the document is getting ready, a couple of proposals to support local initiatives in Belize and Guatemala are being prepared based on the information and experiences shared during the workshop and the final draft of the regional strategy.
We have great expectations regarding the regional strategy. It will launch a lot of local projects and initiatives that will represent regional progress towards the control of this invasive species.
We will let you know when the strategy is ready!
The Convention for the Conservation and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region, also known as the Cartagena Convention, and the Mesoamerican Reef Fund -MAR Fund-, recently signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the aim of work together on the conservation and sustainable management of coastal marine resources in areas of mutual importance.
As one of the first actions under the framework of this Memorandum, an initial workshop to develop the regional strategy for the control of lionfish in the MAR was held in Guatemala between 22 and 23 May 2014. The workshop allowed an exchange of experiences between the Caribbean and the Mesoamerican Reef countries.
The objectives of the workshop were:
At the end of the workshop the organizers offered a lionfish tasting and thus promote the consumption of lionfish in the population. The objective of the completion of these type of events is to control the population of this invasive species and learn more about handling and control, thus contributing to the conservation of coral reefs.
The most important result of the workshop was the generation of inputs to develop a MAR regional strategy. We will gladly share with you the progress of this strategy.
The MAR Fund Team
As the invasion of lionfish raises among Coastal and Marine Protected Areas of the Mesoamerican Reef Region, a meeting to start with the development of a MAR lionfish control strategy is being organized.
Authorities from the four countries of the region and the international cooperation are planning to gather a well-selected group of experts in lionfish to share experiences and to prepare the basics for a MAR strategy to control this invasive species.
Based on the Caribbean Strategy for the control of lionfish, the experts will work for two days to develop a document that, after been discussed and completed with feedback from other key actors of the region, will be finished and will hopefully become a regional strategy.
The meeting will end with a lionfish tasting prepared for an open public, in which information about the biology and ecology of lionfish. A talk regarding why the consumption of lionfish is an effective control tool will also be presented.
We will definetly let you know how this regional meeting goes and what were its results.
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!
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