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

The State of Quintana Roo in Mexico is characterized by a karst landscape formed by sedimentary rocks of porous consistency that allow the rapid filtration of liquids to the subsoil, giving room to the aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Since 1970, the northern zone of Quintana Roo has maintained a constant population growth, and, proportionally, the demand for groundwater has increased as it is the main source of human supply in the region. Unfortunately, contamination of the aquifer and the sea has also increased due to poor septic tank or latrine infrastructure, illegal dumping of wastewater into the sea, and discharge of untreated sewage infiltrating the aquifer. Such infiltration risks affecting water quality both in shallow wells and in the coastal zone associated with the locality. Due to the hydrogeological characteristics of the area and its high hydraulic conductivity, the aquifer is highly vulnerable to environmental contamination, especially in coastal areas. This infiltration generates potential contamination of the aquifer and affects the water quality of the coastal zone, which has repercussions on tourism and fishing activities.

2021 MAR fellows Fernanda and Francesca's project "Coladeras con Conciencia/ Strainers with conscience" seeks to educate and make society responsible, starting with Puerto Morelos, about the importance and existing contamination of the aquifer that directly affects the health the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MAR).

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The 2021 cohort cycle started in January with an introduction to the program in the context of COVID-19. In February, leaders participated in a webinar on the Mesoamerican Reefs' health and were trained on project design. Afterward, Fellows were trained on Storytelling and developed videos of their projects. We want to share with you the video of the Honduran fellows' project, which is looking at the inadequate treatment of wastewater in Roatan Island.

Currently, in Roatan Island, Honduras, the infrastructures used for wastewater disposal are mostly septic tanks, private treatment plants, and very few community treatment plants. One of the latter is located in the West End community, considered one of the most significant tourist affluence areas. It is organized with a board of trustees and a water board called Polo's Water Association, which provides continuous access and treatment of drinking water and has a sewage system and a wastewater treatment plant. In recent years West End, through the water board with the support of different organizations such as MAR Fund, Coral Reef Alliance, Zolitur, BICA, Healthy Reefs, has achieved the implementation of projects related to the rational use of drinking water and improvements in the wastewater treatment system, connections of properties to the sewage system. This is part of the achievements in the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People 2020 Reef Health Report, where macroalgae decreased from 27% to 24% and coral cover increased from 21% to 27%. However, the other existing community treatment plants or those that have been formulated for future construction fall in between:
- A treatment plant built and inactive due to a lack of efficient technologies, causing unsustainability of the system.
- A treatment plant in use, but with inefficient management by the service provider.
- Treatment plants are constructed, but the communities are uncertain about their management and operation.

With the experience of the water board in West End, the team intends to create a treatment plant management model that will serve as a guide to improve the current systems on the island and future constructions. Thus ensuring the proper governance and sustainability of the system and not putting at risk the quality of the treated effluent and, consequently, the reefs' health.

 

LiderazgoSAM_HN2021.mp4

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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?
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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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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

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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