MAR Fellows at the MAR Coral Restoration Network
Dear friends and supporters!
It’s the end of the year and the holiday spirit is in us and we in the MAR Leadership Program are filled with gratitude with all the people that has supported us throughout 2017. Thank you very much for trusting us and for allowing us to continue protecting our Mesoamerican Reef System.
We are happy to share with you the progress made by the MAR Leadership Program and our Fellows the fourth quarter of the year.
Biennial Meeting of the Mesoamerican Reef Restoration Network
In September 19-21, 2017 the Biennial Meeting of the Mesoamerican Reef Restoration Network took place in Akumal, Mexico. The objectives of the meeting included 1) develop a database of the key actors involved in reef restoration work in the MAR region; 2) identify and map current and potential reef restoration projects or sites in need of restoration; 3) propose a biennial action plan for the Network (2017-2019) by country and at a regional level; 4) propose mechanisms for the operation and effective operationalization of the Network; 5) set collaboration agreements of the members of the Network to strengthen the Network and the restoration processes in the region. 11 MAR Fellows from different cohorts and countries participated in the meeting.
Regional Meeting on Sustainable Fisheries in the Mesoamerican Reef
To strengthen the scientific and technical capacity of organizations working on marine and coastal conservation in the MAR, coordinated efforts are needed among the four countries. On November 8, within the framework of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) meeting that took place in Merida, MAR Fund, FMCN / MAR-L and Rare, organized a side event with the objective of laying the foundations for the creation of the Regional Network on Sustainable Fisheries in the Mesoamerican Reef. 44 people from 28 organizations participated representing CSOs, government (mainly from the environmental sector) and academic institutions of the four countries that are currently working in sustainable fisheries. As a result of the meeting it was possible to identify the key actors, successful sustainable fisheries projects and best practices in progress that can be replicated, as well as priority areas. Due to the high interest of the participants in the MAR network, during the workshop it was proposed to organize a second face-to-face follow-up meeting to formally form the Network with an efficient governance mechanism, statutes and a work plan. Consequently, after the workshop the organizers undertook to organize a second meeting at the end of February 2018. The establishment of a Committee represented by a MAR Leadership Fellow of each country was proposed. The organizers of the workshop will follow up with the proposed representatives of each country. 11 MAR Fellows from different cohorts and countries participated in the meeting.
Maricarmen (2010 Fellow, México) work on lion fish control
The invasion of the lionfish, Pterois volitans is considered one of the most damaging threats to the reef. Current control measures of the species in MPA include encouraging consumption through direct catches by fishermen and divers, which have been maintained since the first record of the species in the Mexican Caribbean (2009). Furthermore, knowledge about their eating habits and natural history has been incorporated by Maricarmen in the Costa Maya from 20014 to 2017. In the study she observed several species of fish that coexist in the same refuges as the lionfish. It is significant to mention that she identified 24 species of predators / lion fish consumers. Currently the results in Quintana Roo show a lower number of lionfish. She recommended increasing efforts to stop reef deterioration due to poor handling of human waste, overfishing and tourist use. Therefore, she is promoting in coordination with academics, fishermen, tourism service providers and civil society the reef restoration through immediate attention to natural and anthropogenic damages.
Yanú (2010 Fellow, Honduras) work on tourism and transport sector
As the environmental officer of Puertos Marinos de Honduras (PMH), a company in charge of the solid bulk port of Honduras (Terminal de Graneles Solidos de Puerto Cortes), Yanu has been part of the process of hiring and supervision of two consultancies. One is monitoring the water quality of the Quilimaco channel and the second is coral reef and water quality monitoring in the Puerto Cortes Bay. These data will contribute to greater monitoring efforts in the Mesoamerican Reef as well as decision making at the local level government. She was also involved in the elaboration of the San Pedro Sula´s development plan were, as part of the environmental team, proposed the establishment of biological corridors and prioritized domestic and industrial wastewater treatment to reduce the negative impact of the Chamelecon River in the MAR. Since October, Yanu has been selected as the Vicepresident of the International Alumni Association of the Institute for Housing and Urban Devbelopment Studies (IHS from Erasmus University). Through this volunteer work she hopes to continue protecting fragile ecosystems by promoting livable and sustainable cities around the world.
Laura (2014 Fellow, Honduras) Award Winning Video
#Connect, an idea incubated in MAR Leadership workshop receives an award within the framework of the First Short Film Festival of Green Action, organized by the Ministry of Energy, Natural Resources, Environment and Mines of Honduras (MiAmbiente). The short film titled #Conectate presented by Laura Palmese received the First Place Award and the Audience Award. #Connect is the result of an adaptation made to an idea generated in the framework of the Third MAR Leadership Workshop of the 2016 cohort on Blue Economy, where participants received training on storytelling strategies. In a group exercise where Fellows Alejandra, Alex and Juan (Mexico), Michelle (Guatemala) and Milton (Honduras) participated, the story was created and a home video developed which received feedback from MAR-L team and the training consultants. However, with the support of the Honduran producer José Jorge and the actors of the Honduran theater group Clavo Films, the short film was produced and presented. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szo_SocxxyQ
Synergies between Fellows from Mexico and Honduras: Promoting the Blue Economy
Juan, 2016 MAR Fellow from Mexico visited Roatan, Honduras at the end of September to support Laura, 2014 Fellow in her project to reduce the impacts of tourism development including wastewater and solid waste management. Juan is in charge of the Environment Area at Ahau Tulum Properties and has successfully managed to convince the executives of hotel Group to implement best environmental practices that have also resulted in economic savings. During his stay in Roatan, Juan met with managers, assistant managers and hotel maintenance managers in the West Bay area, where he conducted a questionnaire and a sustainability inspection. From the visits, a report with recommendations was developed. Laura and Juan have now considered the possibility of holding a workshop on blue economy in mid-2018.
Cecilia (2015 Fellow, Belze) joins Blue Venture
Cecilia joined Blue Ventures in January 2017 as their Community Program Coordinator in Belize. Blue Ventures is a non-profit organization working to rebuild tropical fisheries with coastal communities. In Belize, Blue Ventures is focused on community and outreach program and coral reef and lionfish research. Cecilia’s role included the coordination of the community, outreach and education program in Sarteneja and other stakeholder communities across the country. Her role also included working closely with the “Belioness” Belize Lionfish Jewelry Group by developing and sustaining good organizational management processes, identifying appropriate opportunities for capacity building, and growth within their business, as well as supporting learning exchanges and capacity development of other lionfish jewelry initiatives in the region. Cecilia also led a social marketing campaign aiming to increase demand for invasive lionfish. In November, Cecilia’s role changed to Conservation Coordinator. Her new role includes grant management, overseeing the effective implementation of education and outreach efforts on marine conservation, mainly focusing on the invasive lionfish, and working with the Belize Fisheries Department to implement the National Lionfish Management Strategy.
Thank you for helping us change the world
Regional Meeting on Sustainable Fisheries
Maricarmen Garcia work on lion fish control
Yanu work on sustainable tourism
Cecilia's work "Belioness" Belize Lionfish Jewerly