After all the necessary paperwork with the project developers in the protected areas in both Mexico and Honduras, our two community marine reserve pilot projects have finally kicked off.
In Puerto Morelos, México, the Fishing Cooperative, has started the reef monitoring with the assessment of the National Park Administration and the NGO Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI).
So far, the Cooperative has completed one full monitoring phase that had the following methodology: they selected 13 strategic monitoring sites within the protected area. In these monitoring sites they set up transects to measure the following indicators: number of fish and fish species, number of reefs and reefs species, number of invertebrates and invertebrates species, type of sediments, and bottom structure.
They organized themselves in working teams, so that they all got to monitor every indicator in each phase at least twice. This will allow them to develop their monitoring skills and learn more about the ecosystem they fish.
After concluding this first monitoring phase and analyzing the results of the existent biodiversity and reef health, the fishermen have selected two potential “no take zones” within the protected area.
The three communities within the Wildlife Refuge of Cuero y Salado project in Honduras, will initiate with their activities soon, with the administrative support of the Cayos Cochinos Foundation.
We are very excited about the results that these two projects will obtain for their fishing communities and the coastal and marine protected areas, as well as for the conservation and sustainable use of their fisheries resources. We are sure that more fishing groups will join the community marine reserve initiative motivated by these first two.
We are still working on the assessment of establishing fisheries co-management mechanisms and no take zones with other groups of fishermen that are very interested in these initiatives and that have been identified in the other two countries of the Mesoamerican reef. The funding that is being raised through Global Giving and other donors will go to supporting these fishermen's projects.
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