Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef

 
$2,674
$87,326
Raised
Remaining

We would love to share with you this short video clip created by Mr. Joaquín de la Torre from the Healthy Reefs Initiative (HRI) with full support from COBI, the NGO that is providing the technical assistance to our project in Mexico. The video shows how the fishermen from the Puerto Morelos Fishing Cooperative monitor the reef. As we mentioned in our last update, they have considerably improved their monitoring skills.

Please watch and confirm it yourself!

We can't stop expressing you our gratitude! Without your support, this just would not be possible!

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Mr. René Laffite, Chairman of FUCSA, signing.
Mr. René Laffite, Chairman of FUCSA, signing.

On August 12, 2010, at 10:30 am, at the Forestry Conservation Institute (ICF) facilities in La Ceiba City, Honduras, the agreement between the Asociación de Pescadores La Rosita, Cuero y Salado (APROCUS) and the Cuero y Salado Foundation (FUCSA), the foundation that administrates the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge, was signed for the co-management of a fishing territory, which includes four no-take zones (marine reserves) with a diameter of one kilometer each.

The co-management agreement will also be signed by the Forestry Conservation Institute (ICF) and the Food and Agriculture Secretary (SAG). The involvement of these two institutions is because the ICF is the protected area management authority, and the SAG is the authority, through the Dirección General de Pesca (DIGEPESCA), in fisheries.

We are very excited about this giant step the project just gave. This will guarantee APROCUS’s involvement in the designing and developing of the management plan for the fishing territory and the monitoring of the no-take zones jointly with FUCSA.

Thanks to all the people that have supported our project, we are moving ahead on the right track for conservation and sustainable use of natural resources of the MAR reef. But we still have a long way to go!

Mr. Olvin Cayetano, President of APROCUS, signing.
Mr. Olvin Cayetano, President of APROCUS, signing.
Fishermen in action
Fishermen in action

During the first week of May, 2010, a workshop was given to evaluate the monitoring techniques learned by the Puerto Morelos Cooperative fishermen and used for the registration of fish, corals, key invertebrates, bottom complex, and substratum type. The workshop was conducted by people from the Natural Protected Areas National Commission (CONANP), the Akumal Ecological Centre, and COBI.

After the workshop, the fishermen went into the water and realized eight monitoring exercises from mid May to early June. They completed satisfactory the data collection in 65 transects.

After the monitoring, people from COBI and CONANP could verify an improvement in the quality of the data. Authorities are considering using this data not only in this project but for management plans, and even including some of the trained fishermen into their monitoring staff.

In Honduras, the Asociación de Pescadores La Rosita, Cuero y Salado (APROCUS) has sent the draft agreement to all the authorities involved: the Forestry Conservation Institute (ICF), which is the protected area head authority; the Fisheries Department (DIGEPESCA), and to FUCSA.

The final document had been revised by the legal department from all three institutions, and is now ready to be signed. The first parties to sign the agreement will be APROCUS and FUCSA.

Training workshop at the Fishing Cooperative
Training workshop at the Fishing Cooperative
Ready to jum into the water
Ready to jum into the water

The two pilot projects of our Community Fisheries Program have completed the first phase with some very interesting results.

In Mexico, the Puerto Morelos Fishing Cooperative, has completed two full monitoring exercises. With the assistance of the Mexican NGO Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI) the Cooperative has developed the baseline of the reef’s status, and will now be able to measure long-term changes and restoration processes through a monitoring plan, inside and outside of the designated community marine reserves.

In Honduras, the three fishing communities of the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge have organized themselves to create a new association called Asociación de Pescadores La Rosita, Cuero y Salado (APROCUS) that will represent them. They have developed a draft agreement between the association and the refuge administration for the co-management of a fishing territory, which will include no-take zones.

This agreement will allow APROCUS to design and develop the management plan for the fishing territory and to monitor the no-take zones jointly with the Cuero y Salado Foundation (FUCSA), which is the refuge administrator.

We have started the next phase of these two project thanks to all of your support. We look forward to begining with the Guatemalan project in the San Francisco fishing community within th Punta de Manabique Wildlife Refuge.

In México, the Puerto Morelos Fishing Cooperative, with the technical assistance of the NGO Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI), has completed their second monitoring phase in the 13 strategic sites in the reef and now they will compare these results with the results from the first monitoring phase.

This will give them the elements to establish the base line on the reef’s health, and will help them to decide if they need to select and establish more “no take zones” within the protected area or not.

In the Wildlife Refuge of Cuero y Salado project in Honduras, a single association that integrates the three fishing communities of the Refuge has been established. The Association has started to negotiate with the Forestry Conservation Institute (ICF) the co-management of fishing grounds within the Refuge. They are working on a draft agreement with the conditions of the co-management arrangement.

As we mentioned in one of our previous updates, there have been other groups of fishermen that are interested in establishing co-management mechanisms and no take zones in their countries. We are trying to raise funds to support the community of San Francisco del Mar, in Izabal, Guatemala. We are sure that more fishing groups will join the community marine reserve initiative.

We are very excited and counting on this GlobalGiving Christmas Challenge to raise the needed funds (US$ 14,927.00) to start with the Guatemalan project and then move forward to other initiatives in the MAR reef region.

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Project Leader

Maria Jose Gonzalez

Executive Director
Guatemala, Guatemala

Where is this project located?

Map of Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef