Feb 20, 2020

Hunting a predator since 2011

Volunteer working with BICA-Utila
Volunteer working with BICA-Utila

Heading to the south of the Mesoamerican Reef ecoregion, we come back to Utila in Honduras. The NGO, Bay Islands Conservation Association-UTILA (BICA-Utila), manager of the Turtle Harbour Rock Harbour Special Marine Protection Zone in Honduras, continues hunting the predator.

In 2009, the first lionfish was spotted in Utila. Since 2011, BICA Utila has developed 13 lionfish hunting competitions known as “Utila Lionfish Derbies”, to fight this invasive species. These competitions allow BICA-Utila to raise awareness within the community about the risk this species represents to the reef ecosystems. Of these 13 competitions, we were able to support seven and with them a total of 1,820 specimens were extracted with the help of 415 hunters and observer divers. This was possible thanks to your support.

It is important to mention that all specimens hunted are delivered to the dissection team made up of volunteers from BICA, Reef Leaders, community volunteers and volunteers from other organizations (Bay Islands Foundation, Kanahau, Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center and Operation Wallacea) who develop conservation work on the island. These dissections are developed with the objective of collecting information that allows the manager of the protected area understand their distribution, diet, impacts on the reefs and proper management of the species.

Since not everything is work, BICA-Utila also develops a “Lionfish Cook-off” competition. Once all specimens have been analyzed, they are delivered to five restaurants (Neptune’s at Coral Beach Village, Islanders, The Venue, Mango Inn Bar and Grill and Mr. Peter’s Goods) who then compete for the best lionfish dish. This competition serves to educate community members and tourists on how the lionfish is a sustainable option for consumption.

To be able to make this activities a reality, BICA-Utila developed a work-plan that describes the steps to take for a proper development. The area manager also imparts licensing courses for lionfish hunting, so that all divers who participate in the derbies, have the proper knowledge of how to handle the Hawaiian sling and hunt the predator.

Because you have helped us provide support to BICA-Utila, in turn we have helped them with their financial sustainability, since the development of this competitions helps the organization generate income from donations to continue with their activities.

Thank you for believing in the work we do.

The MAR Fund Team

Caught lionfish
Caught lionfish
Getting ready to be dissected
Getting ready to be dissected
Working together to analyze the lionfish
Working together to analyze the lionfish
Winner divers of one Derby
Winner divers of one Derby
Feb 20, 2020

Supporting good sustainable fishing practices In Corozal Bay

Beachtrap, part of the Pesca Tour
Beachtrap, part of the Pesca Tour

Heading a little to the north east side of Belize, we find ourselves in Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS), encompassing approximately 72,000 hectares of the Belize portion of the Mesoamerican Reef’s largest estuarine system. Co-managed by the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD) since 2007, in partnership with the Forestry Department. This area has five stakeholder coastal communities (Sarteneja, Chunox, Copper Bank, Consejo and Corozal), of which Sarteneja is the most dependent on the marine resources of CBWS.

To support and involve fishers in sustainable fishing practices, SACD developed an economic project with the Sarteneja Beach Trap Pesca Tours Association (SBTPTA). This project focused on tourism as a form of diversifying income for fisher households and promoting sustainable fishing practices in CBWS by enhancing SBTPTA through ecotourism.

The Sarteneja Beach Trap Pesca Tour Association was formed to represent the interests of the trap fishers from Sarteneja as traditional users of the area. Presently the association is taking the first steps towards tourism by creating ‘Pesca Tours’, which entails taking out tourists to experience traditional fishing in Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Though this support, the association was trained in best fishing practices to promote sustainable fishing in the area. Tour guides previously trained by SACD and the wives of the fishermen are part of this project by offering traditional cooked meals and wildlife watching tours. The fisher wives were trained in basic conversational English and food handling, and they received kitchen equipment to be able to cook for visitors. The members of the association also received equipment to conduct ecotourism and improved their fishing practices for a greater appeal to the environmentally friendly tourist. They developed itineraries for the Pesca Tours, including the original tour (visiting the fish traps followed by a traditional meal of fish).

Through this project the members are able to showcase their beautiful area and promote sustainable activities within the community and with tourists.

We have been able to support SACD in this endeavor thanks to your support. Because of your involvement, we are able to work closely with communities and promote sustainable fishing practices in the region.

Thank you

The MAR Fund Team.

One of the first tours developed
One of the first tours developed
Home cooked meal
Home cooked meal
Traditional fish meal
Traditional fish meal
Equipping the Association
Equipping the Association
Nov 22, 2019

Sustainable Fisheries Network

Sustainable Fisheries Network Members
Sustainable Fisheries Network Members

To face the challenges present in the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) region and promote a responsible management and sustainable use of fisheries and marine resources, on November, 2017, the Mesoamerican Reef´s Sustainable Fisheries Network was created.

This network is integrated by fishery cooperatives, civil associations, academia, government agencies and, from the four countries of the MAR; members that aim to support the sustainability of the fisheries.

With this network, knowledge and best practices on sustainable fisheries are shared among actors of the four countries of the MAR (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras). The MAR shares similarities in its biodiversity and marine-coastal ecosystems and the economy of the region is highly dependent on marine resources. The populations that depend on these resources, although very diverse, share cultural roots and economic needs to maintain their financial stability and way of life.

With your support, the network has been able to develop workshops focusing on identifying key actors that support sustainable fisheries, projects developed in the region and promoting strategies that will help the network achieve its goal successfully.

All of this activities have been possible because you believe in our work, and as us, you also want to help the region achieve the sustainability of its resources. We´ll keep you posted on how this network moves forward.

Thank you and may this Holiday Season be filled with joy and laughter.

Happy Holidays!

The MAR Fund Team.

 
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