Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef

by Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza, A.C.
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Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef

Dear GlobalGiving Friends,

We hope you are well and healthy.

We are happy to announce the launch of the MAR Leadership 2021 Cohort.

Cristina, Brenda, Diana, Fernanda, Francesca, Zain, Aaron, Zara, Antonella, Nikita, Trudy, Damaris, Olga, Susel, Wenses, Celia, Jenny, Stacey, Henry, Buddy, Maria, Veronica, Andrea, Anisa, and Sussy will be designing and implementing projects that promote strategies for improving the health and resilience of the MAR ecosystem, with a focus on addressing nutrient pollution and contributing to a sustainable recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

During 2021 Fellows will be trained on a series of topics: starting with the reef's status and its impacts, the main factors affecting the reef, sources of pollution, and impacts. The environmental legal framework applicable to the MAR region, public policies regarding water security and the human right to water will be analyzed. Water characteristics, water uses, sampling techniques, sample collection, and the main water sampling techniques, sample collection, and main wastewater treatment processes. Some data science techniques include handling statistical tools, information visualization and statistical tools, information visualization, and mapping. Community development and conservation processes with examples of community-based projects applicable in the MAR region will be presented, identifying actions and strategies that support the region, identifying activities and strategies that support participatory processes. Besides, they will be trained on Project design, Storytelling: how to tell stories that have an impact, negotiation and conflict resolution, personal development and leadership and, resource mobilization and fundraising in the new era.

Given the new normality, we adapt!

Stay tooned!

MAR Leadership Team

We adapted to the New normality!
We adapted to the New normality!
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Dear GlobalGiving Friends,

We hope you and your family are well and healthy.

We are happy to inform you that the 2019 cohort concluded its training cycle. Over one year (Aug 2019-Jul 2020), the MAR leaders learned about fisheries management and the tools available. They learned about the MAR's main fisheries, conservation tools including marine reserves, natural protected areas, conservation schemes, socio-ecological systems, the relationship between humans and the environment, and conservation projects' design.

They also received training in resource mobilization, negotiation and conflict resolution, public policy advocacy, strategic communication, personal development, and leadership styles from international trainers in a 15-day workshop that took place in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, in September 2019. Between September 2019 and July 2020, Fellows continued learning through online seminars and received mentoring from experts to design their projects. The webinars included topics such as Eco-Certifications in Fisheries, What are the Schemes and How do they Work, Voluntary Guidelines for Achieving Sustainability in Small Scale Fisheries, Citizen Science in Marine Conservation - How to Generate Information with Coastal Communities, Fisheries Landscape in the MAR and the World and Managing Emotions in Times of COVID-19.

With the spread of Covid-19 and MAR Leadership's commitment to our community's health and safety, we canceled the in-person graduation of the 2019 cohort. It was sad that this cohort did not have graduation like past generations, but we worked hard to provide them with an unforgettable experience. In a video conference, the Director of the MAR Leadership Program thanked Leaders for their confidence in the program and reiterated that their participation does not end now. On the contrary, there will be many opportunities to continue growing personally and professionally, continue connecting with other leaders and experts, and collaborate and co-create to contribute to the Mesoamerican Reef System's sustainability. Afterward, each fellow received a diploma, and they shared their experience remembering anecdotes from the September 2019 workshop. A video was shown with moving speeches from each leader, as well as another video with photos that reminded them of memorable moments. Finally, the event concluded with a toast and a very entertaining conversation.

All the best to the MAR Leadership 2019 Cohort

2019 cohort projects

1. Turneffe case study to create an adaptive lobster Fishery management model in Belize. The Belizean team intends to implement improvements in the lobster fishery in Turneffe Atoll, Belize. The project considers working with the atoll fishing community as part of the transition to Managed Access. It will characterize the fishery in the protected area, including trap distribution, fishing gear, and fishery data collection. A tagging study and outreach campaigns will be conducted with the fishing community.

2. Biological and socioeconomic characterization of manjúa fishing (family: Engraulidae) in the Caribbean of Guatemala. The Guatemalan team intends to work with the manjúa fishery in the Caribbean of Guatemala participatory science, characterization of the fishery, and design of best practice processes.

3. Sport Fishing without leaving traces in the Bay Islands National Marine Park. This team aims to promote sustainable sport fisheries by establishing fishing management tools on the Island of Roatan. They will implement community monitoring, rules for resource use, minimum sizes, and promote eco-certification through a co-management scheme. The project's main objective is to get sport fishers to implement better fishing practices through an eco-certification, which involves their participation in community biological monitoring and training to release certain species correctly. Before COVID-19, our schedule of activities proposed to start socializing the project and the eco-certification with the corresponding government institutions by mid-2020. However, due to the pandemic situation, we restructured the project to begin in 2021. Nevertheless, we have made progress with the coordinators of the sportfishing tournaments in Utila and Roatán. They are willing to participate in the project and understand the importance of establishing regulations for this activity in the PNMIB and at the national level.

4. Tools for the transition to territorial use rights in the MAR fishery. The second team from Honduras seeks to develop strategies to implement property rights in coastal fisheries. The fisheries will be characterized through a fisheries monitoring process implemented in collaboration with 13 lagoon communities. A socioeconomic diagnosis will be carried out, and the process of implementing a land rights program for fishing in the lagoon will be designed. Currently, communities and fishers monitor landings monthly and are in the process of analysis to learn the status of the fishing resource. Likewise, socioeconomic information is being collected from the fishing communities through the implementation of telephone surveys due to the situation of COVID-19; these data will be ready by the end of this year.

5. Design and implement long-term monitoring of elasmobranch populations in the Northern Mexican Caribbean to search for sustainable use and conservation. This project aims to understand the composition of shark and ray species in this region, identify the direct threats to their populations, know the areas they use, and evaluate the impact that fishing and tourism activities have on them, creating long-term monitoring that involves the community. This is done to generate management and conservation strategies that allow for the maintenance of healthy populations in the long-term and propose sustainable use alternatives that will enable local communities to continue to take advantage of their resources.

Do you want to know more?
Contact us!

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Recognising and Managing Emotions webinar
Recognising and Managing Emotions webinar

Today we live challenging moments. As of May 31, 2020, more than 6.03 million people worldwide have contracted the coronavirus, COVID-19. The spread of COVID-19 is a health crisis, but it is not just a health crisis. COVID-19 will also have social, economic, environmental, and political impacts that could leave severe damage in the coming years, reversing the development gains achieved in the last 20 years. Nevertheless, this situation is an excellent opportunity to improve and grow as individuals, organizations, and society. It is time to rethink who we are, enjoy what we have, and motivate ourselves to keep going.

Despite the difficulties that COVID-19 is posing in the coastal communities of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the MAR leaders continue working with the passion that characterizes them. Today more than ever, we have to continue supporting fishers and coastal communities to make them more resilient to the changes we are experiencing. Fishing, which represents a critical social and economic activity for food security and livelihoods, especially in coastal communities, has been directly and indirectly affected (COBI, 2020).

In the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program, we have had to adapt to the new circumstances and reschedule our face-to-face activities for the 2019 cohort. We are using the technological tools available, which have allowed us to communicate and continue learning. In the last few months, we have held a series of webinars with COBI (the 2019 cohort mentoring team) mainly sustainable fisheries and sustainable community development. 

Webinar 1: Citizen Science in Marine Conservation taught by Stuart from COBI and MAR leader of the 2016 cohort. During the webinar, Stuart talked about how to generate information with coastal communities; what is citizen science, what examples do we have in the MAR and how to create an impact on citizen science.

Webinar 2: Fishing panorama in the MAR and the world delivered by Diana from Rare and MAR Leader of the 2016 cohort. Through this webinar, Diana explored fisheries management strategies and some examples of successful collaboration.

Webinar 3: Collective action delivered by Inés from COBI and MAR Leader from the 2018 cohort. In the webinar, Inés spoke about the theory of collective impact and shared some resources such as case studies, lessons learned, and communities of practice.

At the request of the 2019 cohort, we organized a webinar with Carlos, our leadership trainer related to recognizing and managing our emotions durng COVID-19. 

In July, the five teams of the 2019 cohort will finish their cohort cycle and will present their fine-tuned project proposals to seek resources for their implementation. The projects are:

1.     A community monitoring program for a sustainable elasmobranch fishery in northern Quintana Roo.

2.     Tools for the transition to territorial rights of use in fishing in Laguna Micos Quemada, Tela, Honduras.

3.     Sustainable fishing in the Bay Islands Marine National Park, Honduras

4.     Biological and socioeconomic characterization of the Manjua fishery in the Guatemalan

5.     Turneffe Case Study for the establishment of an Adaptive Lobster Fishery Management Model in Belize.

We will be launching the 2020-2021 Call for Applications in July. Stay tuned!

Citizen Science webinar - COBI
Citizen Science webinar - COBI
Fishing panorama in the MAR webinar - Rare
Fishing panorama in the MAR webinar - Rare
Collective Impact webinar - COBI
Collective Impact webinar - COBI
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Shark fins identification workshop
Shark fins identification workshop

Dear friends and supporters!

We hope your year is off to a great start.

It's great to see 2018 MAR Leaders employing the new skills and capacities that they received from the program in the implementation of their projects in the four MAR countries. They have been busy raising funds and working collaboratively with the local communities to promote sustainable fisheries and community development.

For instance, it took the shark team nine months of hard work to develop the National Condrict Action Plan of Guatemala (NCAP). The development of NCAP has been a collaborative effort with an intersectoral working group and DIPESCA (Department of Fisheries of Guatemala). They are now working on converting the document into a ministerial agreement to support and guide national actions. The final section of the NCAP contains three strategic recommendations that should be implemented in 2020 and will be reviewed in 2024. These recommendations include: 1) Formalize the NCAP through a ministerial agreement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food. 2) The NCAP should be reviewed at least every five years. 3) Take into account economic alternatives for artisanal fishers in case management measures are implemented that worth the cessation of activity for a long time.  The team is seeking funding to hire specialists in non-detriment findings (DENP) to help Guatemalan Authorities formulate their DENP. For the team, it was refreshing and certainly encouraging to have created, for the first time, an intersectoral working group to address the conservation and management challenges of sharks and rays in Guatemala (Photo 3. Shark fin identification meeting). The preamble to the Convention recognizes that international cooperation is essential for the protection of certain species of wild fauna and flora against excessive exploitation through international trade, and the urgency of taking appropriate measures to this end is also recognized. Photo 1: Shark fins identification workshop

The team of leaders from Mexico encouraged a group of 10 women to create a cooperative called "Women of the Sea" to promote nature tourism in the community of Punta Herrero in the Sian Ka ' Biosphere Reserve, which includes sustainable fishing, mangrove tours, and bird watching. The achievements so far include • A functional and operational organization of women (most of them wives of fishers), who, for the first time, make decisions and execute a community tourism project. • The project was launched in April 2019, and by July of the same year, the Women of the Sea received 180 tourists. This activity has provided them with an income to contribute to their family economy, support their children, and provide food, education, and health to their homes. • They received funding from governmental organizations that have been used to rehabilitate a dining area and a kitchen to prepare food for tourists. • They have participated in competitions that highlight women in conservation actions and the proper management of natural resources in their communities.  Photo 2 Women of the cooperative Mujeres del Mar. MAR leader Mariela, as a spokesperson for the team, has been invited to participate in a series of forums and events where she has presented the work of Mujeres del Mar. In these events, Mariela received support and financing to consolidate the Cooperativa de Mujeres del Mar. "Leadership SAM has reinforced my professional performance with all the tools and knowledge shared by coaches and experts, said Mariela." Photo 3 Mariela and Sofi, founders of Mujeres del Mar.

The Belizean team is implementing a project that aims at establishing a legal framework for sustainable fisheries based on the rights of communities in marine / estuarine wildlife sanctuaries in Belize, developing a successful framework for community-based fisheries. The project engages the local fishermen as part of the new designation of the Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS), which will improve the sustainability of the resources and may be replicated in other wildlife sanctuaries. In the long term, the local community will have a greater understanding and support for sustainable fishing initiatives. This project has supported the development of a Sustainable Fisheries Plan, which includes site-specific regulations and areas for fishing recovery, and it is aligned with the national Managed Access program. It is also promoting two sub-projects that will improve the income options of the Sarteneja community. For example, a new and unique tourist product that involves traditional fishers who take visitors to experience the daily life of a local fisherman. It also incorporates other ecotourism services, such as wildlife observation and traditional cuisine, with the active participation of wives and family members who are certified tour guides. Another subproject is a greenhouse agriculture pilot for family members of fishers in the Chunox community. The next steps are (1) validate and begin to implement the Sustainable Fisheries Plan, and (2) monitor and evaluate alternative projects. Once the plan has been approved, the team will monitor its execution. Photo 4. Fishermen from Corozal Bay Wildlife Santuary.

The team from Honduras is implementing the Garífuna SATUYE Tourism and Cultural Center, which will promote Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development for the Bay Islands National Marine Park (PNMIB). This project will establish a sustainable tourism model supported by the Garifuna community of Punta Gorda, promoting awareness and sustainable use of the reef jointly with the local municipality of Santos Guardiola, the Tourism Institute, and other entities involved. MAR Leaders developed an education and training program that was delivered to the community at the Cultural Center. Training workshops were held to strengthen local capacities that foster the creation of tourism microenterprises and increase community awareness about the importance of their culture and marine resources. Photo 5. Sustainable Economic Development in Bay Islands

The Guatemala Team is implementing the project for the creation of new market opportunities for fishery products associated with the mangrove ecosystem in the Sarstún River Multiple Use Area and Punta de Manabique Wildlife Refuge, Guatemala. The team has been following-up on the legalization of four groups of fishermen as cooperatives and raising their awareness on the management of the fisheries they use. In Río Sarstún they are working with: • The Committee of Artisanal Fishermen of San Juan. The renovation, equipment, and commissioning of the hydrobiological purchase and sale center were established. • With the fishing community of Buena Vista, an agreement was signed for the improvement of the management of the Tapon River, which is intended to protect from extractive fishing and turn it into a fish replenishment zone. It was also agreed to immediately establish a series of signs to warn visitors and accompany patrols with the authorities. • The Fishermen Committee of Barra Cocolí worked on the implementation of a community restaurant, as an economic activity complementary to fishing. • In the area ofthe Río Dulce National Park with the fishing community of Crique Jute, technical support and advice are being provided together with the National Commission of Protected Areas for the declaration of a fish replenishment zone.

Thank you for your donation that will help us to continue strengthening young leaders’ capacities and protect the reef through high impact projects.

Best wishes,

MAR Leadership Team

Women of the cooperative Mujeres del Mar
Women of the cooperative Mujeres del Mar
Mariela and Sofi, founders of Mujeres del Mar
Mariela and Sofi, founders of Mujeres del Mar
Fishermen from Corozal Bay Wildlife Santuary
Fishermen from Corozal Bay Wildlife Santuary
Sustainable Economic Development in Bay Islands
Sustainable Economic Development in Bay Islands
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MAR Leadership 2018 Cohort
MAR Leadership 2018 Cohort

We are excited to introduce you to the 2019 Cohort comprised of a total of 14 fellows from the four MAR countries in five teams (one from Belize, one from Guatemala, two from Honduras and one from Mexico).

In this fantastic group of innovators, three fellows come from government, two from academic institutions, six from civil society organizations, and three from the private sector. 71% percent are women, and 29% are men. 

MAR-L has heavily invested in supporting leaders committed to improving fisheries in the region. Therefore, and with the understanding that the less ecologically degraded a reef ecosystem is, the more resilient and productive it is, we strive to scale up and launch successful projects that promote sustainable fisheries and sustainable community development with a gender perspective along the MAR.

The 2019 cohort leaders will design and implement the following six projects on sustainable fisheries and community development in the four MAR countries: 

  1. Biological and socioeconomic characterization of the Manjua fishery (family: Engraulidae) in the Caribbean of Guatemala
  2. For a fishery without leaving traces in the Bay Islands National Marine Park 
  3. Tools for the transition to territorial rights of use in fisheries in the Tela
  4. Turneffe Case Study to Create an Adaptive Lobster Fishery Management Model in Belize
  5. Design of a community monitoring program for a sustainable elasmobranch fishery in the North of Quintana Roo.

The MAR-L Program will provide 2019 Leaders an opportunity to gain real-world, hands-on experience and develop personal, professional, and environmental conservation leadership skills. These skills will enable Leaders to be-come frontrunners in protecting the Mesoamerican Reef and associated marine ecosystems and lead efforts to conserve, protect, and restore marine ecosystems in their communities, countries and across the region.

The training cycle of the 2019 cohort includes:
- A two-week workshop (15 days total, including travel time) will take place on September 14 - 30, 2019 in Quintana Roo, Mexico. During this workshop, Leaders will be trained by international experts on sustain-able fisheries management, marine reserves, climate change, fisheries science and management, blue econ-omy, community development successful models, public policy advocacy, storytelling, resource mobiliza-tion, negotiation and conflict resolution, personal development and leadership styles.
- Four webinars of two hours each on topics of interest to the cohort members.
- A 4-day trip to Baja California Sur during the first half of 2020 (dates to be confirmed) to participate at the Marine and Coastal Conservation Exchange between the Gulf of California region and the MAR
- Networking opportunities with leaders of other cohorts.

Thank you for your support! 

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Organization Information

Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza, A.C.

Location: Mexico D.F., Distrito Federal - Mexico
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @fondomexicano
Project Leader:
Maria Eugenia Arreola
Cancun, Quintana Roo Mexico
$13,875 raised of $25,000 goal
 
188 donations
$11,125 to go
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