Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef

 
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Olvin Cayetano, APROCUS
Olvin Cayetano, APROCUS's Chair

On September 24, 2010, we made a field visit to the incredible Barras de Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge, to talk with the Board of Directors from the Asociación de Pescadores La Rosita, Cuero y Salado (APROCUS) about how they felt after the co-management agreement was signed.

 Looks like the co-management agreement immediately began to have its effects among the APROCUS members. They are more than convinced that they have to be an example for other fishermen. Olvin Cayetano, the young enthusiastic Chairman of the association said: “Our fishing grounds are a part of a more important and big ecosystem. It is an income source not only to us, but for thousands of other people.

Olivia Cavachuela, a La Rosita community fisherman’s wife and former APROCUS’s treasurer, thinks that: “Our Refuge is a small portion of the beautiful Mesoamerican Reef, and it encourages tourism and it has provided all the fish that we have needed to subsist so far

José Rivas, APROCUS’s secretary and a fisherman from La Rosita community, after hearing what Olvin and Olivia had to say about the Refuge, simply said: “We depend on the natural resources the sea gives us to live, to eat, it provides all we need. It is our life provider…”  

We wanted to let you know the point of view of some of the people that you are supporting through our project “Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef”.

All of your contributions have been vital for the continuity of this project. This is why this time, we’d also like to let you know about the Give More, Get More Matching Campaign that GlobalGiving is doing, starting October 12 to October 21.

This is a fantastic opportunity to increase your support without having to give more from your wallet. Do you know why? Because GlobalGiving is doing that for you! For every donation you made to the project in between those dates, they will be matching them from 30%, 40% and 50%!!!!  Great isn’t it!

We encourage you to keep supporting our project, and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity!

Every donation counts!

Olivia Cavachuela, APROCUS
Olivia Cavachuela, APROCUS's treasurer
José Rivas, fisherman and APROCUS
José Rivas, fisherman and APROCUS's secretary

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!

Links:

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.

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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