Oct 15, 2020

Knowledge exchange with the Sustainable Fisheries Network of the MAR

The Sustainable Fisheries Network of the MAR with support from Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI), developed a two day webinar with participants from the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) region. The objective of this webinar was to share processes, monitoring technics and results achieved in fish replenishment zones (FRZ) with organizations from the MAR.

It was developed in two days and it was divided into two topics, Underwater Monitoring and Fishery Monitoring. A total of 39 participants were part of the webinar and organizations from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras presented the work they are doing.

The FRZ are areas of the ocean that are protected against all extractive and destructive activities, they help entire ecosystems recover since no activities are allowed within them. By implementing FRZ, we are providing a safe space for species that seek protection in mangroves, coral reefs and sea grasses. With the increased number of organisms within the zone, species spill outside the zone and thus benefit fishers, this is called spillover zones.

It is important to study the impacts these FRZ have on fisheries and a systematic collection of information on one or more species over time, allows us to understand and see changes and measure impact. Underwater monitoring within and outside of a FRZ, allows us to determine which species are present as well as their numbers and size. The monitoring done in landing zones helps us understand the quantity, sizes and gender of the species being fished.

This kind of webinars brings experts and organizations together to share knowledge and results achieved through the monitoring developed. Sharing best practices, what worked and what didn´t, helps strengthen the work done throughout the region.

We must thank you for your support, gathering results and sharing information is some of the things we have been able to do because you trusted in our work.

Thank you for helping us make the MAR region a safe space for species.

The MAR Fund Team.

Jun 17, 2020

Understanding fishermen through this hard times

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our partners are thinking ahead and moving in to help fishery communities face the pandemic. Following the call from the United Nations Organization and partner countries, to face the health emergency and focus on the social impact and measures of economic response for a sustainable and inclusive recovery, the Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A. C. (COBI) has started a consultation process with fishermen in eight states of Mexico. To learn about the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, and presented the results on their “Resilience of the fishing communities of Mexico before COVID-19 economic and social impacts” paper. 

In this approach, they were able to develop phone interviews to 93 fishermen (34 women and 59 men) of 30 communities from the eight states (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Nayarit, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Sonora and Yucatan), working in 15 fisheries. Through this they were able to reflect the immediate economic and social impacts caused by COVID-19. Below you will find some results achieved.

Immediate economic impacts:

  • Of the interviewees, 89% declared the closure of their markets and the decrease in the price of their products, 10% reported being affected, but continue with the sale of their product and 1% did not respond.
  • The impact on the markets was presented mainly in two moments. 30% of the interviewees said it was between December-2019 and January-2020, due to the closure of distribution and trading companies that export products, and 49% of the interviewees said it was on March-2020 due to the closure of the American, European and national market.
  • As of March 23, 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was recognized as a priority in Mexico, 48% of the fishermen stopped they fishing activities, 41% continued their commercial business, but reducing their catch and 11% continued fishing for self-consumption.
  • The decrease in prices, both in domestic markets and in export, was reported by 70% of the interviewees. 

Immediate social impacts:

  • Of the interviewees, 45% stated they have adapted to the situation and are seeking to diversify the presentation of their products in local markets or are delivering their products.
  • Of the interviewees, 45% of the fishermen sated they have not been able to adapt and have stopped sailing their products, for lack of buyers or a place to store it.
  • Within the communities, 58% of the interviewees mention that their organizations have helped them, or have helped each other. However, 42% mentioned they have not received any support, and 20% reported having received economic support or food pantry by the federal government.

The coastal communities, due to their isolation show in their responses more social resilience, since they have resources to subsist. However, if there is a case of contagion, the vulnerability of the communities would be much greater due to the lack of infrastructure, local preventive health personnel and supplies, and in some cases, the great distance to the nearest hospitals, COBI states in their report. 

COBI will expand their geographic coverage and number of fishermen, so as to make the fishermen needs and proposals visible. By doing this, they will be able to link them with response and recovery mechanisms. They will present another report focused on the state´s role, opportunities and support distribution. 

We are glad to witness the work our partners develop in order to support communities through this hard times. With this information, they will be able to help fishing communities and organizations to thrive during the pandemic.

Thank you for your support to the Mesoamerican region, we´ll share results from the next report soon.

The MAR Fund team

Jun 17, 2020

Continues support in Belize against Lionfish

Support continues in Belize, involving the Lionfish Working Group supported previously, Blue Ventures Conservation, an organization with almost ten years’ experience of working in the region on lionfish management activities, presented a project called “Establishing effective lionfish management in Belize’s fish replenishment zones”.

This project aims to manage the invasive lionfish population in Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve 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. Implementation of a lionfish control plan will reduce the threat of lionfish to coral reef fish populations in Turneffe Atoll, with a focus on fish replenishment zones, protecting biodiversity and livelihoods supported by the reserve. The Lionfish Working Group (LWG) will improve lionfish management nationally through improved communication and collaboration amongst diverse stakeholders.

The objectives of this project are:

  • To enable the participation of Local Resource Users in marine management decisions through quarterly Lionfish Working Group meetings.
  • To establish rules that allow lionfish control within fish replenishment zones across Belize’s MPAs system by the end of 2020.
  • To enable Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association to monitor and adaptively manage invasive lionfish by the end of 2021.
  • To regularly remove invasive lionfish in Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, at sites and frequencies described by the TAMR 2021 Lionfish Control Plan, maintaining lionfish densities below the levels at which they are predicted to cause ecological harm to reef fish populations by February 2022. 

The knowledge acquired through this project will improve the understanding of the status of lionfish populations in Turneffe Atoll, to ensure control activities are sufficient, and the protocols developed may be replicated across Belize´s marine protected areas system.

The project was foreseen to begin in March, 01-2020, but due to COVID-19, some activities were changed and/or delayed. Even though, in the midst of the pandemic, Blue Ventures continues to develop the activities they can, following proper protection protocols stablished in Belize and rescheduling the activities that need to be rescheduled.

All funding provided has been able thanks to your support and engagement with our projects.

We appreciate your trust in us.

We´ll keep you posted on how this project is developed.

The MAR Fund Team.

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