MAR Fund Key Programs
Saving our Sanctuaries:
A Legacy of Caring
Marine Protected Sanctuaries are a universally endorsed means to ensure the health of ecosystems like the MAR system. The region has identified sixty-three such sanctuaries. Each marine sanctuary is critical in its own way for preserving specific habitats, species, and coral formations, allowing them to prosper through controlled use and access to the protected area. Safe-guarding these precious sanctuaries requires hiring officers to enforce their protected status, purchasing equipment to mitigate biophysical threats, conducting research, caring for the health of the sanctuary, and monitoring and evaluating their health.
Stakeholders in the region and the MAR Fund identified the MPA’s listed below as high priority areas with the most urgent needs:
Fishing for the Future:
Sustainable Fisheries for a Thriving Reef
Working closely with its partners, the MAR Fund has determined that sustainable fisheries management is an immediate and urgent conservation priority for the MAR. The biodiversity and quantity of the fish populations are critical to the ecological health of the entire reef ecoregion. Maintaining these fisheries so that it is both economically and ecologically viable is the aim of the MAR Fund’s community fisheries initiative.
- Community Participation in Fisheries Management: Many communities that alive along the Mesoamerican Reef region coast are dependent on nearby fish stocks as a primary source of food and for their livelihoods. Additionally, abundant fish populations are a key component in a healthy reef. By encouraging community participation in the management of these fish populations, the local people are empowered to take control of their futures and are given a unique opportunity to learn about fisheries management.
- Productive Activities for Better Living Standards. Another way to reduce impact on fisheries is by reducing the fishing effort. Promoting and supporting alternate viable productive activities in the region is another way to achieve this goal, and to generate higher income and better living conditions for local communities.
The Need is Now
Climate change is probably the single largest threat to the Mesoamerican Reef Region. The goal of this program is to develop carbon projects that can reduce carbon emissions and finance conservation activities. Two key issues are monitoring climate change effects on the reef and other coastal and marine ecosystems and effectively adapting to climate change as its impacts unfold. The latter will require long-term planning, consistent standard indicators for climate change effects, adequate coastal zone management, and effective coordination among the four countries in the region.