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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
Buoys being moved in Mono Rojo site
Buoys being moved in Mono Rojo site

The Community Fisheries Program supports the active participation of organized groups of fisher men and women in fisheries management and recovery. Involving local community fishers has had a positive impact on being able to demarcate the fish recovery sites, a best practice that has proven to be an effective mechanism to restore and sustain ocean ecosystems.

As you all know, Punta de Manabique Wildlife Refuge, in Guatemala, has three fish recovery sites, two in La Graciosa Bay, Mono Rojo and Punta Gruesa, and one in Santa Isabel Lagoon. After two experts in the subject recommended moving the buoys to enlarge the fish recovery sites, a consensus took place between the National Council of Protected Areas -CONAP- entity that manages the area and the Community Development Committee -CODECO- from the communities of La Graciosa, Punta Gruesa and Santa Isabel. On March 29th-2016 two buoys from the fish recovery site in Mono Rojo and on May 18th-2016 two buoys in Punta Gruesa, located in La Graciosa Bay, were moved closer to the mangroves to enlarge the site which is a positive accomplishment within the area.

This only proves that the communities of fishers are willing and understand the importance of managing their resources in a sustainable way, ensuring the livelihoods of their future generations.

Having the communities understand the importance and benefits of fish recovery sites, keeping them informed and involved in the process will only help this initiative keep moving forward.

With your help, we have been able to promote and develop fish recovery sites throughout the region.

Thank you for your support.

Recovery Site Buoy
Recovery Site Buoy
Fishermen helping with the buoys
Fishermen helping with the buoys
fish recovery sites
fish recovery sites
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In 2009, with your support, we began our Community Fisheries Program in the Mesoamerican Reef region.  Now, after six years of good results, we decided to develop a document to let everybody know about the efforts fishers, NGOs and protected areas and fisheries authorities have done to accomplish what we have.

With the support of an expert, we are currently developing this document and will soon share it with you so you can visualize the progress your support has had in time.

While the report is finished, we can go ahead an tell you that, only in the Gulf of Honduras, which includes a portion of the Caribbean coast of Belize and Honduras, and the entire Caribbean coast of Guatemala, we have supported the proposal/maintenance of twelve fish recovery sites: one in Belize, six in Guatemala and five in Honduras.  These twelve initiatives have covered the following protected areas:

  • Port Honduras Marine Reserve, Belize
  • Río Sarstún Multiple use Area, Guatemala
  • Punta de Manabique Wildlife Refuge, Guatemala
  • Cuyamel Omoa National Park, Honduras
  • Barras de Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge, Honduras

Out of these twelve fish recovery sites, nine have been legally/oficially declared by the authorities, and the remaining three are pending of their declaration.  

Although there are still some proposed areas pending to be declared as recovery sites, the most important achievement of these initiatives is the commitment and involvement of the fishers, who are already respecting and protecting these sites, as they recognize the importance of preserving the natural and fish resources.

We wanted to share this information with you, as you have been a key part for this Program to become what it is today.

Thank you!

The MAR Fund Team

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As a strategy to move forward on a sustainable way with the network of fish refuges in the Gulf of Honduras, the Tri National Alliance for the Development of the Gulf of Honduras, with the support of the MAR Fund, is carrying out a project that will formally invlove youth in better fishing practices in the Gulf of Honduras.

Some of the activities developed so far are:

  • The four targeted fishing communities were visited and the young participants were selected.
  • A diagnostic of the communities to determine their current involvement in the development and support of the network of fish refuges has been carried out with the designed methodology.
  • The training modules in environmental education and natural resources, and in fishing regulations for youth have been prepared jointly with San Carlos University students, who will provide support and follow up during the training process.

As the youth represent the future for the natural resources, we are certain that this project will have great results that will reflect on the improvement and enlargement of the network.

We will keep you posted!

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Five years have passed since the signing of the co-management agreement in Barras de Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge in Honduras.

After this time, several actions have been made, including the construction and equipment of fish collection centers in the fishing communities that are supporting and respecting the fish refuges established in 2010.

However, every commitment needs to sometimes make a break, evaluate its action lines and update and/or improve them.

This is exactly what Cuero y Salado Foundation (FUCSA) intendes to do with the co-management agreement during the coming months.  FUCSA has submmitted a proposal with, among others, the following activities:

  • to develop four working meetings among the co-management agreement signatories
  • to review the legal and technical frame of the agreement
  • to improve and strengthen the control and surveillance strategy
  • to monitor the fish extraction collected and stored in the fish collection center

We believe this is a very strategic and important step to take, as protected areas are such dynamic ecosystems, and financial resources as well as personal staff are fragile aspects in must Government organizations, conditions may have changed snce the signing of the agreement.

We encourage FUCSA and its partners to go ahead and begin this important process!

We also invite you to continue collaborating with us, in order to be able to support proposals like this in the future to other organizations that have wisely begin the co-management of fisheries resources road.

Thank you very much!

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Banco Chinchorro and Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserves are marine protected areas in Mexico that declared three fish refuges with the support of the following Fishers Cooperatives: Langosteros del Caribe, Banco Chinchorro, Andrés Quintana Roo, Jose Maria Azcorra and Cozumel. This was done three years ago and since their inception on 2012, these refuges have been monitored once a year to learn about the ecological improvement they have had.

After at least four monitoring exercises (2012-2015), the results are encouraging.  Some of these are:

Banco Chinchorro

  • The total biomass of snappers and groupers has increased 217%
  • The coral reef cover also increased in around 8%

Sian Ka'an

  • The biomass of snappers increased 146% (there are larger fish)
  • The refuge protects the reproductive aggregation site for groupers 

It is because of results like these that we are happy for your support.  

We will keep you updated!

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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

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