Feb 16, 2021

Involving local communities in conservation and restoration of reefs and mangroves

To involve local communities from the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) region, an initiative is being implemented for the involvement of local communities in the conservation and restoration of mangrove and coral reefs and promotion of good practices in sustainable fisheries in the Mesoamerican Reef System. This is a joint initiative between the MAR Fund (RRI Reef Rescue Initiative, Regional Network of Community Fisheries, Local Communities), the MAR2R-CCAD Project and Organización del Sector Pesquero y Acuícola del Istmo Centroamericano OSPESCA).

The restoration of public natural assets such as fish stocks and mangrove and coral reef ecosystems is what this initiative seeks, with this support we are developing actions that focus on the restoration of these natural assets, with the participation of different actors, and local communities.

The objectives of this phase are:

  • Support and strengthen mangrove and coral reef conservation and restoration efforts in the MAR.
  • Strengthen the MAR Sustainable Fisheries Network
  • Strengthen the MAR Coral Reef Restoration Network
  • Strengthen working alliances between OSPESCA and civil society entities in the MAR region

The development of this initiative has been possible thanks to your involvement, each activity developed takes us closer to the thriving resource we want our future generations to enjoy.

Thank you for your help and for believing in our work.

We´ll keep you posted on how this initiative develops.

Thank you

The MAR Fund Team.

Feb 12, 2021

Lionfish management continues in Belize

Blue Ventures surveyor running a transect line
Blue Ventures surveyor running a transect line

As promised, Blue Ventures Conservation, an organization with almost ten years’ experience of working in the region on lionfish management activities, presented the project called “Establishing effective lionfish management in Belize’s fish replenishment zones”. As mentioned before this project aims to manage the invasive lionfish population in Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, with support from the area manager Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA), through the development of effective and collaborative lionfish control methods, providing a model that can be used in Belize’s other MPAs, as well as across the invaded range.

Even though the pandemic is still affecting, they were able to develop non-field work activities lined out in this project, such as training six TASA staff on the Theory of Change for lionfish control and lionfish invasion ecology, database development, Fish ID, trailing different information-sharing platforms, and also developed virtual Lionfish Working Group (LWG) meetings. Diving activities were cancelled on August-2020 due to rising numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Belize. However, Blue Ventures got prepared for dive based activities and adjusted their dive policy, risk assessment, and health and safety protocol for COVID-19, and began their field activities on November-2020.

They were able to complete 40 Lionfish Focused Search (LFS) surveys and data processing and analysis is being developed to establish management indicators for the 2021 lionfish control plan for Turneffe Atoll. As advised, the implementation of a lionfish control plan will reduce the threat of lionfish to coral reef fish populations in the reserve, protecting biodiversity and livelihoods supported. During their visit to Turneffe Blue Ventures was able to train TASA staff in PADI Advanced Open Water, first aid, lionfish safe handling and culling techniques. 

The national lionfish database has been built using the Marine Ecological Research Management Aid (MERMAID). The platform has been designed for protected area managers, decision-makers and conservation practitioners to enter, update and access real-time monitoring data on Belize’s lionfish populations and associated indicators. 

Thanks to this support and your help, Blue Ventures has been able to leverage funds from The Waterloo Foundation, Summit Foundation, and New England Biolabs Foundation, organizations that are also keen on understanding and controlling this deadly species. 

You are part of our team and we appreciate your help.

Thank you

The MAR Fund Team

Lionfish
Lionfish
Team member conducting lionfish survey
Team member conducting lionfish survey
Results of a successful lionfish culling training
Results of a successful lionfish culling training
Oct 15, 2020

Getting together to discuss actions against the Lionfish in Guatemala

The support provided to the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP), jointly with Seeds of the Ocean (SDO) and the Center for Sea Studies and Aquaculture (CEMA), in Punta de Manabique Wildlife Refuge, through the project “Sustainable actions for the management, reduction and consumption incentive of the lionfish invasive species Pterois volitans (Linnaeus, 1758) in the Caribbean of Guatemala” strengthened the Technical Lionfish Table.

Even though COVID-19 has changed the way we work, in September 16, 2020 the table gathered through an online platform to discuss actions to be taken in regards to the management and control of lionfish in the Guatemalan Caribbean. Representatives from CONAP, SDO and Healthy Reefs Initiative (HRI), developed the 2020/2021 agenda for the implementation of actions proposed in the Lionfish National Strategy.

After the proper discussion and brainstorming, the following actions were stablished:

  • HRI will develop scientific reef monitoring and offered a place for one of the researchers to join them and gather lionfish information (presence and abundance) and perform lionfish hunts.
  • SDO will support with fuel, so at least two hunts can be developed on 2021.
  • SDO with CONAP will review if the research and organism collection license can be extended to cover the work to be done in 2021.
  • The Technical Table will contact (Fundaeco) another member, to review if they can support with diving equipment and a boat for future monitorings and hunts.
  • The El Quetzalito Women group, also part of the technical table, will organize events to promote lionfish consumption in a gastronomic event in 2021.
  • SDO will promote and share lionfish information through their media.

 

The continued support, through the Technical Lionfish Table, has been able thanks to your help.

We appreciate your trust in us.

We´ll keep you posted on how things developed and results achieved through the Technical Lionfish Table.

The MAR Fund Team.

 
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