Protect Marine Ecosystems in Mexico

by Global Vision International Charitable Trust
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Local fishermen monitoring the reef
Local fishermen monitoring the reef

Dear Supporters, 

We are really excited to tell you that we have recently been working with the local NGO, Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI). They are a civil association dedicated to promoting the conservation of marine biodiversity in coastal communities of Mexico. 

Recently COBI, along with small-scale fishers from six fishing cooperatives here in Quintana Roo, have established 16 no-take marine reserves covering 17,600 hectares to protect key species such as lobster and Nassau Grouper from overfishing. These sites were established in 2012 and 2013 and are showing promising results in terms of the recovery of the fish populations.

However, at the moment the impact of climate change is not being adequately assessed due to lack of suitable equipment. This is where you come in! We were able to use your donations to provide 5 HOBO environmental sensors for them to install in the area that they have been working in. 

The donation of HOBO sensors to COBI and the fishing cooperatives will allow them to continuously monitor water temperature in the no-take zones. The sea surface height sensor installed on a grouper spawning site allows additional data to be collected that feeds into a regional model of genetic connectivity allowing the fishermen to understand where the eggs spawned by the fish go. This is very important as new protected areas need to use the most up to date science data possible to be placed in the correct areas where the juvenile fish develop.

It is also important to acknowledge that the local fishers are very involved in the project. During the past few years, different environmental phenomenon have affected the lobster fishery, and their involvement in the project increases their knowledge and understanding of climate change and overfishing, and how both could impact their livelihoods.

Thank you for your donations, which have made this project a reality!

With Gratitude, 

GVI Mexico

 

The HOBO data loggers
The HOBO data loggers

Links:

Finathon Challenge in full swing
Finathon Challenge in full swing

Dear Supporters, 

Here in Pez Maya we have teamed up with Project AWARE. They are a non-profit organisation that are working to 'protect the ocean planet- one dive at a time'. They rely on a network of scuba divers and citizen scientists to raise money and awareness for two main causes.

This month at Pez Maya we are happy to report that we have managed to impact on both of these areas. 

Our Marine Debris Clean Up

We have completed a marine debris clean up at two dive sites. During the dive, we removed over 70 meters of rope and fishing hooks from one site alone! After the dive, we entered all of the data online. This data will be used by various stakeholders to help influence policy making decisions in the future.

To take this even further, we have decided to adopt this project on a more long-term and regular basis, so we will be ensuring that we do a marine debris clean up dive on a monthly basis. 

Finathon

This month has seen Pez Maya’s first Finathon event. Finathons are events that anyone can set up anywhere in the world to raise money and awareness for Project AWARE's ocean protection initiatives. The premise of the campaign is the following,

  • Fight to stop the ugly journey of our trash
  • Insist on full protections for the most vulnerable shark and ray species
  • Negotiate policies that ensure a brighter future for our ocean and its wildlife

So, over the past 2 weeks, we have been educating our volunteer and setting up a series of challenges to test how much they have learnt. They had to use their new knowledge to answer questions, follow clues, complete forfeits, engage in challenges, design costumes and race to the finish line. 

Most importantly, we have taught our volunteers just how easy these clean ups and events are to arrange so we hope they will go on to arrange events and clean-ups wherever they find themselves next. 

Thank you for supporting us in our work!

With Gratitude, 

GVI Mexico

The amazing team of volunteers
The amazing team of volunteers
All fun and games!
All fun and games!

Links:

Dear Supporter,

Sea turtles have been around for 100 million years and they have played an important role in the Marine ecosystems ever since. Unfortunately, its populations and survival rates have decreased drastically due to different natural and anthropogenic threats. They are now classified as an endangered species.

There are seven marine turtle species in the world, four out of them live and nest in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, so they are an important species in the region culturally and ecologically. GVI has been supporting different conservation efforts towards sea turtles and marine ecosystems ever since we have been working here. One of them is the marine turtle conservation program in Riviera Maya, Tulum, conducted by Flora, Fauna y Cultura de Mexico A.C on the central coast of Quintana Roo, between Playa del Carmen and the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Currently, 13 nesting beaches are protected, covering 36 km of coast. These beaches represent the most important sites for nesting populations of the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green turtle (Chelonia mydas) species, at national level. 

We have recently contributed with US$1,800 to support the different marine turtle conservation camps on the coast of Quintana Roo. These funds will be used, mainly to increase the beach patrols on the beaches of San Juan and Punta Yuyum inside the Sian Ka’an biosphere Reserve.  

Beside protecting the nests, data is also gathered. This data helps to indicate the  turtle recovery rates, successful hatchlings, changes in behaviour and threats, adaptation dynamics and population numbers. This is used to help decision makers at a National and International level to reinforce control measures and create National Parks or marine protected areas.

The rest of the money will be used to buy equipment for another local NGO, Amigos de Sian Ka’an for their marine conservation projects. It is very common that local NGOs get funding for specific projects which are short or midterm based, but they have other long term projects which need a special type of equipment and that type of funding doesn’t provide. Hence, the equipment to be bought will be a laptop, a camera, a printer, underwater paper and diving insurance for the staff doing the different projects.  

Thank you for making this possible!

With Gratitide, 

GVI Mexico

Links:

Sand castle building at the annual turtle festival
Sand castle building at the annual turtle festival

Dear Supporter, 

The Marine Turtle Festival in Tulum and Akumal is an annual event hosted by 15 partner marine conservation organizations around Quintana Roo state.  This annual festival, held at the end of nesting season, is a way for locals to learn about turtle behavior, what they consume and what is harming them directly. GVI has taken part in the planning of this festival for over 10 years.

Pez Maya is a marine conservation base and we dive almost every day. We see the first-hand effects that trash and climate change are bringing to the reef and the coastal ecosystems as a whole. We teach the volunteers about conversation and environmental preservation so they can go home with new knowledge and share their experiences with friends and family. However, teaching children is probably one of the most important ways to educate an entire community. 

Our goal for the Marine Turtle festival was to show children, who are living here in the Yucatan and who are experiencing these changes along with us, how people can help an ecosystem no matter how big or small the action is. 

This year the team was involved in several activities. We manned a booth in Tulum town on the first evening that encouraged people to play a turtle memory game and a turtle puzzle.  There was also a board for children to guess what is good for turtles (sea grass, jellyfish and crabs) and what is bad (plastic, pollution and boats), and a board showing children the different things you can recycle, informing them on trash in the sea.  

On the second day we moved to the beach where we participated in homemade-kite flying, sandcastle building and a scavenger hunt. Everyone had a blast and it was great to see the kids getting excited by turtle facts. Did you know that one turtle can lay 100 eggs?

It was, all in all, an amazing experience for everyone involved. We hope that by informing kids now, they can grow up and help protect turtles and the marine environment. 

With Gratitude,

GVI Mexico

Kids enjoying the festival
Kids enjoying the festival

Links:

THE HUNT
THE HUNT

Dear Supporter, 

They are beautiful, dressed with vivid colors of red, white and black. They have elegant venomous spines and a developed killing instinct. They are one of the top predators of this area, but the problem is, that they are not supposed to be here. 

Lionfish are a threat to our reefs. This invasive species is eating the native fish without anyone to stop them. Not even sharks seem interested in them. Someone needs to make a stand, and that someone is us, the Pez Maya team.

So with that on mind we decided to organize “THE HUNT”. This event had a triple purpose; the main one, of course, to help our reef by removing some of the Lionfish found in the area. The second was to help our fellow GVI colleagues in Nepal by raising money to buy supplies for the earthquake victims of the May 2015 earthquakes in that area. And, last but not least, this hunt was the launch of our new Lionfish research project at Pez Maya, were we will study, monitor and dissect this species in a more structured program.

We split into two teams, ‘The Guardians of the Reef ’ and ‘The Avengers’. We started off with a quiz on the biology, behavior and history of this fish. Next we watched tarining videos, receiving lectures, practised using the spear on land, and then in water; and finally finished off off with thorough safety precautions, especially on handling the fish after they have been shot.

Then came the day for the big hunt!  Our battleground was the diving site famous for the amount of Lionfish sightings and each team had 38 minutes to catch as many Lionfish as possible. We managed to catch 18 in total! All fish were
measured, filleted, and dissected and the information recorded. Interesting finds in the stomachs were things like
juvenile filefish, and a praying Mantis Shrimp – showing what a voracious predator the Lionfish really is. 

We ended the day off by cooking the lion fish. The Guardians of the Reef were a little more elegant, creating a breaded Lionfish dish served with white wine and dipping sauces. While The Avengers were a little more daring and created a ceviche full with flavour, strategically placed along the torso of one of the team members, who wore a simple palm loincloth. That act earned them the prize of the best presentation!

It was a fantastically fun day, but most importantly we caught 18 Lionfish, a new record in Pez Maya and more than $800 was donated to Nepal. 

We look forward to bringing you news of how this research project progresses. 

With Gratitude, 

GVI Mexico

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Global Vision International Charitable Trust

Location: Exeter, Devon - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.gvi.org
Project Leader:
Kate Robey
St Albans, Herts United Kingdom

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