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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
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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National Plan of Action Meeting
National Plan of Action Meeting
Dear Global Giving Friends,
We want to share with you the latest developments of the MAR Leadership 2018 Team Sharks.
 
The team has been working on the National Plan of Action (NPOA) for sharks, rays, and chimeras (Chondrichthyes) in Guatemala. After nine months of hard work, it is finally completed! The first step was the creation of an intersectoral working group to support and validate decisions and actions. The NPOA was identified as a priority to guide Chondrichthyes conservation and management efforts strategically. The development of the document has been a collaborative effort with DIPESCA (Guatemala’s Fisheries Department). One of the document’s strengths has been the participative process we have supported to integrate scientific and institutional feedback from experts, as well members from the working group, validating the content and the development of the plan.
The Fishery Department is now working on converting the document into a ministerial agreement so that it becomes an official document to support and guide national actions. The team sharks hope this process will take place no later than November 2019. 
One of their followup goals will be to promote the creation of non-detrimental finding for Appendix II species for the country to comply with CITES. It’s been refreshing and certainly encouraging to have created an intersectoral working group to address the conservation and management challenges for sharks and rays in Guatemala for the very first time!
MAR Leadership Network in action:
In addition to the creation of the NPOA, we carried out an exchange between fishers from Honduras (Omoa) and Guatemala (Sartún and Quetzalito) to support the strengthening of their internal organizational capabilities. The exchange was a great success; the fishermen talked to each other about the importance of organizing committees to unify their voice. Sarstún fishers shared with the other groups the need for having internal rules and regulations, as well as the importance of sustainable fishing. The words from the committee of Sarstún were so powerful and inspiring that for the first time, 32 fishermen attended Quetzalito’s committee meeting; this is a significant change from the usual 7 participants.
2018 MAR Leaders have been invited to participate in this process through a series of workshops supporting shark team’s work with the fishing communities: Sandra from Honduras was invited to speak about sustainable fishing.  Nelson also from Honduras will be invited speak about sustainable fisheries and the importance of a groups organization (August) and Mariela, from Mexico, will share her personal experience being a fishing woman and the founder of the tourism project “Women of the Sea” (September). We want to inspire women in these communities and promote their inclusion in both fishermen committees.
Team Shark members’ experiences:
National Plan of Action Meeting Participants
National Plan of Action Meeting Participants
Elisa and the Vice-minister of MAGA Guatemala
Elisa and the Vice-minister of MAGA Guatemala
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Marine and Coastal Conservation Exchange (MCCE)
Marine and Coastal Conservation Exchange (MCCE)

 

Cabo Pulmo, in the state of Baja California Sur, is an outstanding example of community-led conservation success. It serves as a proof of concept that can be replicated in the MAR region. It represents an innovative, non-extractive model for the Blue Economy1. This success is attributed, among other things, to the policy adopted 24 years ago by the federal government and the Cabo Pulmo community to conserve its marine resources under a Natural Protected Area in the category of National Park. The community collectively put its fishing gear down and was able to build an alternative livelihood. Its inhabitants found in sustainable tourism an advantageous livelihood alternative. Cabo Pulmo National Park is nationally and internationally recognized for the biomass increase of wildlife concerning that existing before its decree. “It is clear that the people of Cabo Pulmo’s desire for sustainability and conservation spawned a thriving ecosystem and economy, instilling a deeply rooted sense of pride and responsibility for the marine world in the community”.
On the other hand, the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR), the largest cross bordering barrier reef in the world and one of the wealthiest and most diverse ecosystems, has accomplished significant advances to promote a Blue Economy that guarantees a permanent natural capital for the sustainable development of coastal communities. International and local organizations in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras committed to the conversation of the MAR continually face threats such as coastal development, overfishing, terrestrial contamination, and climate change. Nevertheless, they have aligned their visions to create a Blue Economy development model adopting a systemic focus to canalize resources to the region and safeguard its natural capital.
Through the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program by the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature, along with its allies, MARFund, LegacyWorks Group, Lindblad Expeditions, and Overbrook Foundation are developing essential initiatives to achieve sustainability within the Gulf of California and within the MAR region. One initiative is the Marine and Coastal Conservation Exchange (MCCE) between these two regions that took place 14-18 May in Cabo Pulmo, BCS, Mexico.  The objective of the MCCE was to enhance the successes and lessons learned in both the Gulf of California and the Mesoamerican Reef region to strengthen and improve the conservation, protection, and restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems while improving the livelihood of local communities.
Forty people are participating in the meeting from which 14 are MAR Fellows of the 2018 cohort from Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Quintana Roo. Themes discussed included the process of establishing and managing Cabo Pulmo National Park and other MPAS in the MAR region and the role of science and the local community within Cabo Pulmo’s success. Experts on communication campaigns from the Gulf of California Cabo Pulmo’s will explain how the media and social networks helped to defend Cabo Pulmo from massive tourism developers. By the end of the meeting, a round table with Cabo Pulmo community members and the National Commission on Protected Areas (CONANP) will be held to discuss the challenges and future of Cabo Pulmo given the high demand from the tourism sector.  
¡Big thanks to our friend in Cabo Pulmo for your hospitality and for sharing your knowledge with us. Congratulations to all of you for a successful and inspiring model of community development.  Hope to see you in the Mesoamerican Reef!
Mario Castro sharing Cabo Pulmo's story
Mario Castro sharing Cabo Pulmo's story
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Regional Network orf Sustainable Fisheries
Regional Network orf Sustainable Fisheries

Dear Friends,

We hope you are having an excellent start to the year.

We are thrilled to share with you the latest news about the MAR Leadership Program (MAR-L). 

Network on Sustainable Fisheries in the Mesoamerican Reef region

MAR-L and MAR Fund organized a second meeting of the Network on Sustainable Fisheries in the Mesoamerican Reef region on November 26 and 27 in Cancun. The objectives of the meeting were to share the preliminary results of the mapping of actors, projects and initiatives related to fisheries in the MAR, identify strengths, threats and areas of opportunity to promote fisheries sustainability, design a medium-term regional strategy; define the mechanisms of governance, membership, and operation of the network.

MAR Fellows Ana (2011) and Angela (2011) were hired to carry out the mapping of actors, projects, and initiatives related to fisheries in the MAR and facilitate the workshop. The meeting was attended by 43 people from 38 organizations from the public, academic, and civil society from the four MAR countries. 12 MAR Fellows participated in the meeting and for of them are members of the network’s Executive Committee.

 2018 Fellows' Projects  

The Belizean team is implementing the project: Establishing the framework for a sustainable fishery based on community rights in Marine / Estuarine Wildlife Sanctuaries in Belize. The objective is to provide a model for the transition from a non-extractive Wildlife Sanctuary to a Wildlife Sanctuary (2), according to what is stipulated in the Law of the System of Protected Natural Areas, which guarantees the long-term sustainability of the fish populations and the protection of the rights of traditional users. Therefore, this project will develop a successful framework for a fishery based on the rights of the community with the active participation of local fishers through the re-designation of Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS), which can be replicated in other Wildlife Sanctuaries. A series of consultations with stakeholder communities have occurred. It has been confirmed that the proposed zones make 28.5% of the total area and includes seven (7) conservation zones, which were assigned with the input of fishers and key stakeholders. MAR Fellows have been supporting the process of developing a Sustainable Fisheries Plan, that is aimed to serve as the backbone of the statutory instrument that will govern the new designation of the protected area. MAR Leaders have identified important gaps that were not previously considered but need to be addressed for the success of the proposed project.

The Guatemala team is implementing the Project: Strengthening protection for

sharks in Guatemala, facilitating compliance with international agreements that regulate sustainable commercialization. This project aims at achieving the sustainable use of sharks that are currently commercialized in Guatemala and strengthening current efforts for their conservation. It will promote the proper control of their trade, through effective compliance with national protocols (National Action Plan for the Conservation and Management of the Sharks in Guatemala, and international protocols. The team has had an incredible six months since the training workshop in August 2018 in Puerto Morelos. They have implemented two workshops in Guatemala to install capacities in the visual identification of shark fins with governmental institutions, universities, and the private sector. Besides, they have created the first guide for five species of sharks listed in Appendix II, of CITES, this to give tools to institutions who are in charge of exportation. IUCN Shark Specialist Group invited two members of the team to a workshop of the Red List Evaluation for endemic and near-endemic species of sharks and rays of the Eastern Pacific from Mexico to Pacific Chile which was held last week in Colombia. The team is now preparing for a meeting on the 21st of February to create the interinstitutional table for sharks in Guatemala. By facilitating this dialogue, the group will be able to get feedback on the National Action Plan that the shark group is working jointly with the fisheries department.

The Honduran team is implementing the project: Improving the health of the reef through tourism-recreational services in Punta Gorda, Municipality of José Santos Guardiola, Roatan. This project seeks to establish a community-driven model of sustainable tourism promoting awareness and reasonable use of the reef ecosystem, working with the local municipality of Santo Guardiola, the tourism institute, and other entities involved. In the long term, it seeks to improve the health of the reef by decreasing illegal fishing and simultaneously increase the biomass of herbivorous fish. On November 9, 2018, representatives of the community and Roatan Marine Park held an event to launch the project which was attended by public-private institutions. The particiánts included the Governor and Deputy of the department of Islas de la Bahía, José Santos Guardiola municipality, Banca Solidario, the Director of the Chamber of Commerce, President of the Association of Fishermen, Representative of the Organized Women's Group, OPROME, Board of Trustees of Punta Gorda), Director of RMP, afterwards the words of the Governor Dino Silvestri, the Deputy Rom MacNab, and RMP Director Francis Lean.  An assessment of the current situation of the communities of Santa Elena and Punta Gorda is being developed, with the purpose of understanding the environment and the possible economic development alternatives for these communities. Once the results of the assessment are ready, training will take the place of inter-institutional working groups to search for cooperators interested in environmental protection and the sustainable development of communities.

The Mexican team is implementing the Project: Sustainable fisheries and sustainable tourism in Bahía Espiritu Santo as a local model of community development in the MAR. María Elena and Punta Herrero communities are located in Espiritu Santo Bay south of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. This project seeks to diversify the productive activities in María Elena and Punta Herrero communities in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve by decreasing their dependence on fishing activities and promoting responsible community tourism activities. As part of the project, they will strengthen the capacities and abilities of the community groups, encourage the participation of women under a social entrepreneurship model that generates empowerment, promotes value chains and increase tourist visits to the site. The team has requested to Quintana Roo state government to improve the road to the communities of María Elena and Punta Herrero minimizing environmental impacts. A communication and outreach campaign has been launched in social networks to promote tourism activities in both communities. A meeting with the fishermen's cooperative took place to authorize the tourist cooperative to receive a cabin on loan to provide lodging for tourists.

Thank you very much for your continuous support.

The MAR Leadership team

MAR Fellows participating in the Fisheries Network
MAR Fellows participating in the Fisheries Network
Workshop Identification of Shark Fins Guatemala
Workshop Identification of Shark Fins Guatemala
Shark Fins Guatemala
Shark Fins Guatemala
Meetings with Punta Gorda community - Honduras
Meetings with Punta Gorda community - Honduras
Fellows at the project launch event in Punta Gorda
Fellows at the project launch event in Punta Gorda
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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
$13,346 raised of $25,000 goal
 
172 donations
$11,654 to go
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