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Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef

by Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund)
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef
Protecting our resources
Protecting our resources

Traveling north from Honduras and nestling in the Caribbean Sea we reach Utila, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras, where fishing communities in their concern about the decline of fisheries, have proposed to protect areas that help the recovery of the marine resource. Los Cayitos community in Utila, have expressed their interest in declaring replenishment zones that will help achieve this goal.

To this end the NGO Bay Islands Conservation Association-UTILA (BICA-Utila) and Centro de Estudios Marinos (CEM) have joined forces with the fishermen to establish replenishment zones for the conservation of the resource and the future of generations to come. Since 2016 the process to establish this zones began and meetings with fishermen from Los Cayitos have been held, to discuss potential zones.

Three zones were identified and CEM developed a biological methodology, which evaluates the state of the marine resource following biophysical criteria and traditional knowledge, in order to support the declaration of the fish replenishment zones. The data obtained in this biological baseline showed that many of the important commercial fish species have low abundance and biomass, due to fishing pressure in the area.

After yet another meeting with fishermen, two zones were approved by the fishermen, White Water and Old Bank. Up to date the Municipal Ordinance for the establishment of fish replenishment zones is currently being drafted. 

All this work has been possible thanks to your support on helping us achieve our goal. 

 

Thank you for being part of our family and putting our marine resources first. 

The MAR Fund Team

Consultation with fishermen
Consultation with fishermen
Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Moving a little to the north east side of Belize, we find Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS), the second largest marine protected area in Belize, encompassing approximately 72,000 hectares of the Belize portion of the Mesoamerican Reef’s largest estuarine system.

This area is co-managed by the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD) since 2007, in partnership with the Forestry Department. SACD is a community-oriented organization that promotes the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources for the benefit of present and future generations. Dedicated to improving the quality of life of the stakeholder communities of Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

With this in mind, since 2012, SACD recommended the initiative of setting fish replenishment zones in order to have sustainable fisheries within the area. This idea surface while the sustainable fisheries plan was being developed and since then national follow up has taken place, learning from other protected areas that already have fish replenishment zones.

Part of this initiative is to ensure traditional fishers (fishermen that have fished in CBWS all his/her life) have access to the resources. Up to date, SACD has recommended seven fish replenishment zones and consultations with parties involved and the Government, have taken place.

Setting this zones within a Wildlife Sanctuary will be a first and, with your support, SACD is closer to achieving this goal and breaking the scheme that replenishment zones are only stablished within marine protected areas. By doing this, SACD will be a pioneer that will then guide other Wildlife Sanctuaries, that are facing the social conflict of access to resources, and provide knowledge to replicate this initiative.

Thank you for supporting sustainable fisheries and being part of this great achievement.

 The MAR Fund Team

CBWS
CBWS
CCO presenting the PAMUCH Fish Recovery Site
CCO presenting the PAMUCH Fish Recovery Site

Cuerpos de Conservación de Omoa (CCO), the NGO that co-administrates the Cuyamel Omoa National Park, Honduras, continues to thrive with the fisheries recovery site "Paraiso, Muchilena and Chachahuala” (PAMUCH). The creation of this site has had a positive effect on resources managements and its success has reached organizations outside the MAR Region, such as Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Chile.

As we all know, protected areas are one of the most important mechanisms for the protection of biodiversity. Chile has a major challenge in terms of financing its protected areas, with marine units having the poorest financial situation, with funding of $ 0.01 per protected hectare. The recent declarations of new marine protected areas by the Government, such as the Mar de Juan Fernández Multiple Uses Coastal Marine Protected Area (1.1 million ha) and the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park (30 million ha), further highlight the importance of evaluating non-traditional financing alternatives.

WCS-Chile is implementing the project applying financial instruments and integrating the fisheries to build an effective and sustainable management of the marine protected areas of the Chilean Patagonia. The objective of this project is to evaluate and propose alternatives for financing the management of protected areas in Chile, with a focus on non-traditional sources of financing.

With this in mind, WCS-Chile together with the Environmental Ministry of Chile and MAR Fund, visited CCO at Cuyamel Omoa on August 1st-2017 with the objective of learning about the experience and lessons learned that CCO has had with the creation of the fisheries recovery site PAMUCH. This visit helped WCS-Chile understand how this type of initiative works and what the benefits of it is, every knowledge acquired will help them analyze the possibility of its eventual implementation in Chile.

With your help we have been able to continue supporting projects that aim to protect our resources. Sustaining positive impacts we have been able to share our best practices with others who are searching for ways to manage their resources as well.

Thank you for trusting in our initiatives!

MAR Fund Team

 

Getting ready to visit the site
Getting ready to visit the site
PAMUCH
PAMUCH
Managed Access Fisher Photo credit: Jason Houston.
Managed Access Fisher Photo credit: Jason Houston.

Since 2011, Managed Access Management tool has been put into action piloted by the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) in Port Honduras Marine Reserve in Belize, together with the Fisheries Department, Environmental Defense Fund and other partners.

Managed Access is a fishery management tool that protects stocks by identifying traditional users of an area; granting local fishermen commercial fishing rights, putting an end to open access fishing, securing livelihoods, and fostering a sense that “this is our area and we need to take care of it.” The pilot resulted in measurable increases in catches of lobster and finfish, compliance with regulations, sense of ownership and participation.

Due to its success and palpable increase in catches, in 2015 the Government of Belize took the landmark decision to roll out Managed Access to all 3,000 square miles of Belize’s near-shore fishery. This is a world first and a major step toward fisheries recovery in the Mesoamerican Reef.

As a measurement to keep fishers involved in the process, forums have been held throughout the years, where information, lessons learnt and the fisher’s point of view in regards to the tool, is exchanged. 

With your help, we have been able to support fishing forums where important information is gathered and shared.

 

Thank you for being part of such an innovative tool and supporting our cause, to make our Region sustainable.

 

All the best,

The MAR Fund Team

Forum at Punta Gorda, Belize
Forum at Punta Gorda, Belize

Due to its easy access and its nearness to urban centers, the marine resources in the Omoa Bay have been subject to anthropogenic and natural pressures, such as, solid waste, invasive species, illegal fishing, among others, which have led to a significant reduction in fisheries.

Because of this and as follow up to the project “Managing ecosystems and promoting economic alternatives in the area of fisheries recovery site PAMUCH”, presented by Cuerpos de Conservación de Omoa, the NGO that co-administrates the Cuyamel Omoa National Park and developed within the community of Cuyamel. The NGO presented a new proposal “Sustainable management of coastal-marine ecosystems of the PAMUCH fisheries recovery site, Cuyamel Omoa National Park, Honduras” making it possible to begin a new phase.

This new phase aims to:

  1. Develop an environmental management of the reef and Chachaguala Lagoon of the PAMUCH fisheries recovery site, Cuyamel Omoa National Park through:
  2. Generate a process to divulgate the regulations and the existence of the PAMUCH fisheries recovery site at a National level.
  3. Promote economic alternatives using Lionfish as a source of revenue and an action to eradicate this invasive species.
  4. Get to know the current state of the coastal-marine ecosystems within PAMUCH.
  5. Reduce illegal fishing activities within PAMUCH.
  6. Reduce the amount of solid waste that is suspended and deposited in the Cachaguala lagoon and its surroundings.

All of this activities and successes have been able thanks to your support and faith in our projects. Because of you and your help, we have been able to follow up on previous activities, providing continuation to projects that have had a positive impacts in the region.

So thank you, for being part of our story.

The MAR Fund Team

 

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Organization Information

Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund)

Location: Guatemala - Guatemala
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @MAR_Fund
Project Leader:
Maria Jose Gonzalez
Executive Director
Guatemala, Guatemala
$3,339 raised of $90,000 goal
 
127 donations
$86,661 to go
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