An effective way of attending the different problems that threaten the Mesoamerican Reef is through the development of an interconnected and functional regional network of coastal and marine protected areas (MPAs). If properly managed, the resulting network, the reef’s backbone, will protect fish populations, diverse habitats, spawning aggregation sites, aquatic resources, forest resources, recreation opportunities and development and growth possibilities for the ecoregion.
Well-managed protected areas regulate access to fisheries, protecting both target and non-target species and allowing populations to either recover or, at a minimum, maintain sustainable levels required to support community livelihoods. Additionally, the inclusion of coastal areas within a regional network preserves sea grass beds and mangroves, providing critical reproductive habitat for endangered manatees, turtles, and other species. This coastal habitat also curbs land erosion and filters incoming water, serving as an effective buffer zone between the watershed and the reef. Finally, within the framework of protected areas we are able to reduce the impacts of climate change by applying proper management practices and protecting resilient reefs.
The objective of the program is the establishment and strengthening of a functional network of priority coastal and marine protected areas in the MAR Region to promote adaptation to climate change, conservation of natural resources and ecological processes, permanence of connectivity functions and ecosystem services, and sustainable use of resources.
To select the priority areas, MAR Fund facilitated a process that included the participation of different actors from the four countries. The methodology that was designed for this purpose was applied initially through four workshops to obtain the national priorities. These results were then analyzed at a regional workshop, in which the number one priorities for the region were defined. The initial network of 14 areas are included in the map below.
This project is supported by the German Government, through KfW, for a total amount of €5 million that will be invested in four priority coastal and marine protected areas within a five-year period.
The main objective of the Project is to contribute to the consolidation of the coastal and marine protected areas, the protection of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components, while increasing the economic well-being and improving the quality of life of the resident populations.
The area of the Project is the Mesoamerican Reef System, shared by Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. The following priority coastal and marine areas (CMPAs) are the focus of the main Project investments:
- Yum Balam Flora and Fauna Protection Area, México.
- Port Honduras Marine Reserve, Belize.
- Punta de Manabique Wildlife Refuge, Guatemala.
- Sandy Bay West End Special Marine Protection Zone, Honduras.
a) Yum Balam Flora and Fauna Protection Area, Mexico.
b) Port Honduras Marine Reserve, Belize.
c) Punta de Manabique Wildlife Refuge, Guatemala.
d) Sandy Bay-West End Special Protection Area, Honduras.
• Sandy Bay-West End Special Marine Protection Zone, Honduras
Just as in Phase I, the German Government through KfW, also supports this phase for a total amount of €5 million that will be invested in five priority coastal and marine protected areas within a five-year period.
This phase of the Project will also contribute to the consolidation of the coastal and marine protected areas, the protection of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components, while increasing the economic well-being and improving the quality of life of the resident populations.
The area of the Project is the Mesoamerican Reef System, shared by Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. The following priority coastal and marine protected areas (CMPAs) are the main areas of investment for the Project at this phase:
- Manatee Sanctuary State Reserve, Bahía de Chetumal, Mexico.
- Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize.
- South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Belize
- Sarstun River Multiple Use Area, Guatemala.
- Turtle Harbour Rock Harbour Special Marine Protection Zone, Honduras.
The Project focuses on implementing effective, long-term conservation mechanisms in the five areas. Support will be provided for planning, monitoring, updated management plans, control and surveillance systems, infrastructure and equipment, among others, in order to optimize the work performed by the administrators of the areas in accordance to the highest standards.
Support will also be provided for a series of activities to be defined by each protected area, with the aim of achieving sustainable use of the areas’ resources, assets and services. These may, include, for example, the following: codes of conduct for various extractive activities, incentive programs to involve communities in conservation, co-management of conservation zones together with users, strategies for recycling solid waste, mangrove reforestation, environmental education campaigns, sustainable fisheries and responsible tourism.
The intervention logic of the Project focuses on improving the conservation and sustainable use of the biological diversity found in the five selected CMPAs.
This approach combines three strategies:
- Conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems.
- Better management and sustainable use practices of coastal and marine resources; and Small grants and implementation of mechanisms for the exchange of knowledge and experience among the Project groups, for example administrators of the CMPAs, or among users of the resources.
Project Objective Indicators:
- Indicator 1: There is no increase in the financial gap in all of the CMPAs included in the Program.
- Indicator 2: Management Plans are updated and under implementation in 100% of the CMPAs included in the Program.
- Indicator 3: The CMPAs included in the Program have natural resource used plans under implementation.
a) Manatee Sanctuary State Reserve, Bahía de Chetumal, Mexico
b) Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize
c) South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Belize
d) Sarstun River Multiple Use Area, Guatemala
e) Turtle Harbour Rock Harbour Special Marine Protection Zone, Honduras
Protected areas presentations
Good Practices Presentations