Empowering Fishing Communities in the MAR Reef

by Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund)

During the months of May and June, 2014, the national fishermen fora in each of the three countries of the Gulf of Honduras were held.

Under the coordination of the Tri national Alliance for the development of the Gulf of Honduras -TRIGOH-, fishermen associations and authorities spent a day discussing fisheries issues.  The main topic of each of the meetings was the establishment of fish refuges in order to consolidate the Fishe Refuges Network.

The organized fishermen have given huge steps towards co-management in only one year.  Most of them learned about the process of establishing fish refuges during the last tri national fishermen forum when Mexican fishermen shared their experiences. 

The results of each of the fora will be discussed during the Tri National Fishermen Forum that willl be held in Punta Gorda, Belize on July 31.

We will keep you posted of the interesting outcomes and results from the tri national forum, as these will again be thanks to your collaboration and support.

The MAR Fund Team

After the successfull first phase of the fisheries co-management project developed by the NGO Cuerpos de Conservación de Omoa in the Cuyamel-Omoa National Park, in Honduras during 2013, the MAR Fund approved a second phase for the project.

The objectives for this second phase are:

  • Strengthen the enforcement of fishing regulations in the marine area of the Cuyamel-Omoa National Park
  • Formally establish the 1 Ha fisheries recovery site and develop its action plan
  • Provide economic alternatives to local fishing communities

This project will secure the consolidation of the proposed fish recovery site.

This initiative is part of a Gulf of Honduras scale strategy that intends to develop a fish restoration sites network among coastal and marine protected areas of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.

We will keep you posted on any progress the proposed site has regarding its declaration as a formal restoration site.

Scuba diving certified fishers
Scuba diving certified fishers

The first initiative of fisheries recovery sites in the Río Sarstún Multiple Use Area in Guatemala has had a very good acceptance from the fishers, authorities and private sector. It also has reached important previous results.

A research protocol to establish the baseline of the proposed fisheries recovery sites was designed and will shortly be implemented by FUNDAECO (the NGO that co-administrates the protected area) jointly with the fishers and authorities

Also, with the support of Water Quest dive shop, seven fishers were trained and certified in scuba diving.  After this training, the first workshop on biological monitoring techniques was held and the seven certified fishers participated.  It is expected that, after the project concludes, they will continue with the monitoring of their fishing resources.

A recognition visit was made to potential fisheries recovery sites within the PA and prioritize these according to their current ecological status.
We are also supporting a RARE initiative that FUNDAECO began in the King Fish reef siteThis is a three coral reef patches area outside the PA. A technical study on the biologica relevance was previously developed and submited to the Research Department of the Fisheries Authority. As the Research Department has approved the technical study, we will also support the next phase: the follow-up meetings with the Legal Department of the Fisheries Authority.
We look forward to the final results of this project.  We are certain these will be vey interesting and will be sure to share them with you.  After all, without your support, this wouldn't be happening!
The MAR Fund Team

Monitoring of fish in the Chachaguala lagoon
Monitoring of fish in the Chachaguala lagoon

The NGO Cuerpos de Conservación de Omoa, co-adminsitrator of the Cuyamel - Omoa National Park, has done an extraordinary diagnosis on the status of the fisheries resources within the protected area.  This diagnostic was developed jointly with fishers from several coastal communities: Chachaguala, Muchilena, Villa San Martín, Masca, El Paraíso, among others.  These communities are worried about the decrease of the resources and want to support the fisheries recovery site initiative. 

The staff from the NGO divided the protected area in three main sites: river, lagoon and reef. Then they did monitor each of the sites so that the fishers could notice the relation and linkage among the ecosystems and its respective species.

The results of the monitoring were socialized with the fishers who learned about the importance that each ecosystem has for the different stages of the life cycle of every fish sepcies.  With these results, they all agreed the area to propose as a fisheries recovery site.

We are very excited that they are now preparing the demarcation bouys for the fisheries recovery zones and close to submit the are proposed to the authorities and to begin the legal process to become co-administrators of their own fishing resources.

We will keep you posted about their next promising steps! 

Fishers preparing recovery sites demarcation bouys
Fishers preparing recovery sites demarcation bouys

As the co-management action plan moves forward in the Punta de Manabique Wildlife Refuge in Guatemala, another fishing comunnities from the region have began a co-management initiative on their own: Omoa, within the Cuyamel - Omoa National Park, in Honduras; and Barra Sarstún, Cocolí, San Juan and Buena Vista, within the Río Sarstún Multiple Use Area, in Guatemala.

Yes!  We are thrilled to tell you that co-management projects started in these two Coastal Protected Areas last April, this year.  These new projects will have the support from the Tri National Alliance for the Conservation of the Gulf of Honduras (TRIGOH).  Visits to exchange experiences among other fishing communities will be held with these new projects.

In Sarstun, Guatemala, the objective is to implement four fisheries recovery sites, one in each community.  In Omoa, Honduras, the implementation of one fisheries recovery site is targeted.  This effort will increase the number of fish refuges of our regional network. 

The implementation of these type of projects only strengthens our Community Fisheries Program which you and your support have been the most important part.

We will be sure to keep you posted on the progress of each of these projects along the year!

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

Organization Information

Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund)

Location: Guatemala - Guatemala
Website: http:/​/​www.marfund.org
Project Leader:
Maria Jose Gonzalez
Executive Director
Guatemala, Guatemala