Conservation of Marine Resources in Central America Project

Phase I

MAR Fund carried out the process of closing this phase of the Project, complying with the established deadlines and the formal aspects set forth in the Separate Agreement signed with KfW.

The Yum Balam Natural Protected Area Advisory Council was established and five sub-councils will be constituted: municipal, fishing, tourism, academic and civil society.


Photo: Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Yum Balam/CONANP


In addition, five park rangers obtained the certification issued by the Ministry of Communications and Transportation, which will allow them to navigate the vessels of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) and develop control and surveillance patrols, monitoring activities, among others.


The second measurement of seagrass and mangrove cover of the four protected areas of the Project’s Phase I, already completed, it was hired the Mexican Carbon Program to validate in the field, the satellite information obtained by the German company Remote Sensing Solutions (RSS). According to the results of the mentioned evaluation, the coverage of seagrass in 2016 was of 17,747 hectares and of mangrove 7,049 hectares.


The trash in its place

AAt the Kantunilkin sanitary landfill, an electric power transformer was installed to handle the solid waste that arrives at the site. The electric power generator that was in Kantunilkin was moved to the Holbox Transfer Center so that the waste compact containers in that site can work.


Fishermen will dive more safely

Thirty fishermen received training on safety diving techniques to learn how to use the specific equipment called Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA). In general, to submerge and stay underwater for a long time, fishermen in the area only used an oxygen generator that is connected to long hoses. This traditional team is known locally as “umbilical juka”.


Photo: Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Yum Balam/CONANP



 Photo: Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Yum Balam/CONANP

The Management Plan for the Port Honduras Marine Reserve located in Belize includes a section on climate change so that the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) can strengthen its activities aimed at adaptation.


The aforementioned plan will be delivered to the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) and to the Belize Fisheries Department for approval.


Main achievements of TIDE up until March 2017

The confiscation of two unattended gillnets within the reserve and the arrest of three Guatemalan fishermen for illegally navigating Belizean waters and for the use of gillnets are the result of 92 patrols carried out by TIDE during 2017.


The arrested fishermen were transferred to the Punta Gorda Port Authority and were penalized. For this reason, the Managed Access Program with fishermen in the area continues to be promoted.


Photo: TIDE


Community support

With the creation of the Punta Negra Grill and Tavern, were local cuisine is offered to visitors, alternative livelihoods to the women of Punta Negra is created. After three years of service, the restaurant managed by four women from the Seabreeze Women´s Group, works in an orderly way and its income is re-invested in it, making it sustainable through time.


Photo: PACT


Press tour and training for fishermen

A tour in Monkey River and Punta Negra was organized for reporters from the three major television networks in Belize, who subsequently broadcasted the produced journalistic pieces in the news, sharing all that this two villages have to offer. The news had an approximate range of one hundred thousand spectators.


In addition, three members of the community research program and a park ranger received training as PADI rescue divers. They will support the monitoring program and the Ridge to Reef expeditions.


The ranger will lead the trained team in the installation of buoys and demarcation of areas.

Photo: TIDE


Financial sustainability

TIDE´s Ridge to Reef (R2R) expedition program continues supporting TIDE´s financial sustainability and their research and monitoring program since its launch in 2014. Its marketing has helped TIDE place R2R on the radar and a proceeds go directly into the managements and protection of the protected areas managed by TIDE.


Photo: TIDE

Based on the alliance for the generation of data from the Inter-institutional Monitoring Group of Forests and Land Use (GIMBUT), forest cover, estimation of emissions from the use of firewood and wood, estimation of removals by increment of carbon stocks and by carbon content, are indicators that can be monitored with the geographic information systems unit of the northeast region installed at the Technical Unit.


Working together
A kitchen was enabled in the Institutional Operations Center (COI), improving the park rangers working conditions. The COI continues to operate and allows the constant institutional presence of the army and representatives of the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP), while offering better logistical conditions for park rangers to carry out their work.


Photo: Unidad Técnica Punta de Manabique del CONAP


Due to the fact that there is already a Management Plan for the protected area waiting to be approved by CONAP, the development of the Motagua initiative was also supported. This initiative allows a space for dialogue and discussion, which has resulted in the establishment of the Izabal Environmental Justice Forum, which will be monitored by CONAP and its partners.


Photo: CONAP


Protecting the resources
CONAP continues monitoring the three fish replenishment zones stablished through the cooperation agreement for the protection and sustainable use of hydro-biological resources with the communities – La Graciosa, Santa Isabel and Punta Negra -. The results achieved up to date proved an increase in fish stock within the zones, from 467 fishes in 2016 to 542 in 2017.


Photo: CONAP

Members of different organizations dedicated to the conservation and protection of natural resources in Honduras were trained in the use of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) which will allow them to strengthen the control and surveillance program that park rangers perform in protected areas.


The training was delivered by personnel from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and was attended by people from the Naval Force of Honduras, the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office, the Forestry Conservation Institute, the Environmental Unit of Roatan and Santos Guardiola, among others.


The Roatan Marine Park renovates its facilities

Improvements in both, the external aspect of the Roatan Marine Park (RMP) headquarters, and information signs on the protected area, and the activities permitted and not permitted related with conservation of the marine environment, were completed in 2017.


The RMP also redesigned its logo and developed a banner and an information pamphlet about the park.


Photo: Roatan Marine Park


 BICA in action

The Bay Island Conservation Association (BICA) hired a consultant to validate in the field the satellite information obtained by the German company Remote Sensing Solutions (RSS). This activity corresponded to the second measurement of seagrass and mangrove cover for the four protected areas of Phase I of the Project.


During the first quarter of 2017, BICA completed the construction of the recycling center at Escuela Modelo of Roatán, which will complement the environmental education activities carried out in that establishment through the Aula Verde program.


Strengthening local communities

As for the honey project in the community of Corozal, the outside of the processing plant was painted and electric power was installed. The process of legalization of the company is also being followed up.


Photo: Roatan Marine Park


The Artisan Women of Roatan (MAR) were not left behind either. They strengthened their organization in administrative matters and continued to produce different type of products, using recyclable materials.


The redesigning of the update and publication of the educational manual “The coral reefs of the Bay” is in the process.

Effective communication and exchange of information
for the adoption of new practices

To address regional issues that affect the MAR, the Project “Conservation of Marine Resources in Central America” included Component 3: Effective communication and exchange of information for the adoption of new practices and small grants.


Through this component, the Project addressed not only the four protected areas selected but the other ten from the list of the prioritized MAR areas. Therefore, activities of this component were different from the ones of the protected areas.


Some of the activities developed through this component were:

After the implementation of Phase I of the “Conservation of Marine Resources in Central America”, developed by the four protected areas, MAR Fund hired a communications expert to dig into the areas and learn about the impacts of the Project that sometimes are missing in the reports.


On April 23, taking advantage of the presence of Mr. Mackensen and Mr. Rusnok in Guatemala, the book Escrito con tinta azul, historias de conservación del Sistema Arrecifal Mesoamericano (Written with blue ink, stories of conservation in the Mesoamerican Reef) was launched. This book, an activity developed with the support of the Project, gathers amazing stories of people from the four protected areas of Phase I. Adriana Navarro, a Mexican writer, was hired to write the stories doing a magnificent job. In 2017, she visited the four areas and met with direct and indirect beneficiaries of the project. She asked them about what they do and how the Project helped them do it. The result was a series of eight splendid stories, two from each area.


Fifty-one people came to the event. Lorenzo, Mr. Mackensen, Thomas Cieslik, Chief of Cooperation of the German Embassy in Guatemala and Minor García, Sub Secretary of the National Council of Protected Areas of Guatemala integrated the main table and each gave a few words to the audience. Adriana was also able to be at the event and she presented her experience while visiting the areas and gave her point of view of the work being supported by MAR Fund. She expressed the importance of including the native people of the areas into the management of their natural resources.



Photo: Julieta Ordóñez

The Connectivity Exercise in the Mesoamerican Reef (ECOME)


The ECOME exercises are implemented simultaneously on dates determined around the new moon. The methodology consists of water column that are placed before, during and after the new moon in suitable sites for the recruitment of fish. Since the creation of the MAR Connectivity Network in 2010, six ECOMEs have been carried out in an average of 10 marine protected areas each year, distributed in the four countries of the region. However, the results of the sixth ECOME are still being analyzed.


Photo: ECOME



The protected areas that have participated in the ECOME are:

In Mexico: Yum Balam, Arrecife de Puerto Morelos, Sian Ka’an, Isla Contoy and Arrecife de Xcalak.

In Belize: Port Honduras, Turneffe Atoll and Bacalar Chico.

In Guatemala: Punta de Manabique and Río Sarstún. In Honduras: Sandy Bay West End and Turtle Harbour / Rock Harbour.


Photo: ECOME


Project Phase II

Progress in each protected area.

The park rangers of the Santuario del Manatí State Reserve in Chetumal Bay, Mexico have been strengthened with the purchase of diving equipment, a 4×4 pickup that they use in the monitoring and management of the protected area as well as their control and surveillance activities. Cameras, radios and uniforms were also purchased, to strengthen staff members and the community brigade.


An access guard control house was built in Raudales community, located within the protected area.


Photo: SEMA


From October 2017 to March 2018, 12 more aquatic patrols were implemented in coordination with the Office of Environmental Protection (PPA), Secretary of public security (SSP) and CONAPESCA. Fifty-eight fishing tramps were confiscated and two mangrove deforestation areas were reported. Control and surveillance is ongoing with matching funds, establishing links with government institutions to strengthen the institutional presence in the protected area.


Photo: SEMA


Water quality, life quality
The supervision of water quality in 30 sites of the protected area began. There are records of 12 parameters and it was confirmed that the sites located in front of the city of Chetumal have the highest nutrient values. This monitoring was implemented with ECOSUR, to ensure the accuracy of the data analysis,


Photo: SEMA


Manatees in sight

After six monitoring trips in the protected area, three adult manatees were observed and it is reported that Daniel’s territory includes the length of Laguna Guerrero, the access channels to the Chetumal Bay and the area known as Cacayuc. The final report was recently submitted to MAR Fund and FMCN, and it is under review.


Other monitoring activities

SEMA, in collaboration with ECOSUR, developed a seagrass monitoring protocol and at the end of 2017 they evaluated seagrass cover and growth in two specific sites (Zaragoza Channel and Tamalcab). These sites were selected through the information generated by RSS in the baseline study of sea grass and mangrove cover for the Project.


SEMA participated in the 6th Connectivity Exercise for the Mesoamerican (ECOME). A total of 426 fish larvae and juveniles were collected.


Cross-border Alliance

To follow up on the cross-border collaboration agreement for the conservation and sustainable development of the Mexico – Belize shared ecosystem (Chetumal Bay and Corozal Bay), joint activities were developed: water quality monitoring, control and surveillance patrols, coordination meetings.


With counterpart funds, the recently formed Biodiversity and Natural Protected Areas Institute of Quintana Roo (IBANQROO) supported residents of the Reserve in the preparation of projects to be submitted to the Conservation Program for Sustainable Development (PROCODES) of CONANP. Three projects were submitted and one of them was approved: Wildlife monitoring with community participation in the Santuario del Manatí-Arrecifes de Xcalak biological corridor.


The SEMA hosted 820 visitors at the Mammal Rehabilitation Center (CARMA for its acronym in Spanish), who were explained the importance of the Reserve, conservation actions and its link with the project Marine Resources Conservation in Central America.


In follow-up to the integration of the community brigades of environmental monitoring, a meeting was held with the ejidal authorities and the population of the town of Raudales to share with them the benefits and objectives of the brigades. This meeting was in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Office of Quintana Roo will give the respective accreditation to the training program implemented with community volunteers. Up to date, the protected area has one control and surveillance community brigade legally recognized and accredited and a second one is in training.

The hiring of a consultant to rehabilitate the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD) office, the manufacture of a boat for enforcement, investigation and supervision in the protected area, as well as coordinated patrols with the Secretariat of Ecology and Environment (SEMA) of Quintana Roo, are some of the various activities carried out at the Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in 2017.


Photo: SACD


ECOSUR signed a contract with SACD to analyze water quality data of the samples collected in the monitoring carried out in the bay during the year; the first intermediate report of contaminants was received from 84 samples collected in the rainy season.


Photo: SACD


SACD participated, from September 16 to 25, in the 6th Exercise of Connectivity in the Mesoamerican (ECOME6).


Photo: SACD


Fishermen’s Fair

Around 300 fishers from Sarteneja, Chunox, Copper Bank and Corozal participated in a fair were the use of sustainable fishing practices was promoted through beach trap competitions and fishers were awarded the best catch of the day.

In addition to the competition, governmental and non-governmental organizations shared information about the work they do in the area; the terms of reference to hire a consultant to develop the sustainable fishery plan are ready.


Photo: SACD


To involve the Sarteneja youth in the care of the area, a summer camp was held with the participation of 15 youths. In the classroom and on the field, these youths were presented with information related to the mangrove ecosystem, the identification of birds and the rehabilitation of manatees. Representatives from Oceana Organization told them about the importance of marine resources.


Photo: SACD


Also, as part of the scholarship program, 24 scholarships were awarded to students from the communities of Sarteneja, Chunox and Copper Bank.


Photo: SACD

The Institute of Environmental Hydraulics (IH Cantabria) completed the study of historical waves of South Water Caye Marine Reserve in Belize, which supported the study from the expert from Tecnica y Proyectos S.A. (TYPSA) in analyzing the feasibility of investing in the containment and reclamation at Twin Caye.


A vehicle was acquired for the best coverage of the areas by the reserve administrator and the environmental education technician.


Photo: Belize Fishery Department (BFD)


Teaching our youths
As part of the environmental and outreach program developed by the Belize Fishery Department (BFD), the outreach officer organized the “best poster” contest, visiting a total of 8 schools from which 6 schools were awarded for marine best poster and won a trip to visit the reserve and learned about the importance of conservation, different ecosystems and sustainable resources use, among others. This activity reached a total of 106 students, 12 teachers and 3 parents from the stakeholder communities.


Photo: Belize Fishery Department (BFD)


The achievements of the Fisheries Department

The Belize Fisheries Department developed the monitoring of spawning and lobster aggregation zones, and programmed conch monitoring after the closure of the closed season (September 30).


Photo: Belize Fishery Department (BFD)


Through 2017 the department continued with the control and surveillance program, a period during which 485 patrols were carried out, yielding 12 arrests for several different offences which included undersize conchs and lobster and fishing within the Conservation Zone 1.


Photo: Belize Fishery Department (BFD)


Fourteen people, including fishers, received training as tour guides and must carry out the corresponding practices for their certification.


Photo: Belize Fishery Department (BFD)


In the new course of tour guides, 10 more people participated, while 8 community researchers were trained in the monitoring program carried out in the reserve, advanced to the level of rescue diving and now they support the Fisheries Department in their activities.


Photo: Belize Fishery Department (BFD)


In addition to continuing consultations with stakeholder communities to update the management plan and the creation of the community development strategy, the fifth Advisory Council meeting was held. In this meeting the implementation of the Project, the number of patrols carried out and the number of arrests made, management plan update and the new realignment of the replenishment zones, were discussed.


Photo: Belize Fishery Department (BFD)

Rangers and the technical team from the consortium Fundación para el Eco Desarrollo y la Conservación – Asosicación Amantes de la Tiera (FUNDAECO-AAT) were trained on fisheries legislation and protected areas. In addition, nine park rangers and seven technicians were trained in wildlife topics, non-timber species and forest exploitation license.


Photo: Fundaeco


Sharing information

In order to keep the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP) informed about the activities carried out in the area, monthly coordination meetings continue to be carried out with them.


Photo: Fundaeco


The people of the communities and institutions working in the area were also informed of the results of the Project.


Photo: Fundaeco


In another meeting developed with different organizations, including CONAP, the Directorate of Nature Protection (DIPRONA), the Caribbean Naval Command (CONACAR), the Navy Infantry Brigade (BIM), the Protocol of Control and Surveillance of the Multiple Use Area Río Sarstún was delivered.



Photo: Enrique Escalante/MAR Fund


After the Local Executive Council (CEL) conformation, meetings have been held with a 90% participation. The topics discussed in this meetings have involved the communities in the management of the area and the follow up on activities developed.

The fishing and harvests of the day

As part of the productive projects implemented in the area, the renewal and activation of the fish collection and sales center of the Fishermen Committee of San Juan was continued.


Photo: Fundaeco


The cocoa projects developed in Plan Grande Quehueche and Cocolí are in their final stages. The FUNDAECO led an experience exchange between 21 members from this communities and Las Jaras, from Reserva Protectora de Manatiales Cerro San Gil about the process and management of planting cocoa.


Photo: Fundaeco


After the devastating fire that destroyed the Community Restaurant managed by the Barra Sarstún Fishermen Committee and with the help of donors, the Committee was able to build a coffee shop and rehabilitate their fish collection and sales center.


Photo: Fundaeco


The contract with the NGO EcoLogic Development Fund to develop the Community Development Strategy, was signed. To this end, they have begun to meet with the stakeholder communities and held a meeting with the Local Executive Council (CEL) to report on the actions carried out in the area.


Photo: Fundaeco


For the development of the tourism project in the Cocolí community, the Community Tourism Committee was established with the endorsement of the Guatemalan Tourism Institute (INGUAT).


As part of the implementation of the environmental education plan, the International Mangrove Day was celebrated and information was shared on the importance of this ecosystem with approximately 160 people, including students, teachers and stakeholder communities in the area.


Photo: Fundaeco


To begin the renovation of the infrastructures in Lagunita Creek and Laguna Grande, FUNDAECO has acquired the three necessary licenses for construction and the constructor has already been selected.

The visitor center of BICA Utila, in addition to having acquired two four-wheel motor bikes for the execution of its field activities, is already supplied with solar energy, thanks to the recently completed installation of solar panels in the building. The solar panels at BICA Utila visitor center, purchased with the Project, allow for 25% reduction in energy consumption. Savings are destined to the payment of maintenance of infrastructure and equipment.


BICA Utila hired a new park ranger for the implementation of the control and surveillance program and has achieved collaboration with the Honduras Naval Force and Preventive Police to coordinate these actions.


Thirty-two water patrols were carried out from January to March 2018 with the support of the Honduras Naval Force. A complaint was attended with the support of the Honduras Naval Force, Preventive Police, Municipal Police, Coordinator of the Cadastral and Technical Office of ICF, for sand extraction in the Diamond Cay area. The respective follow-up will be given through the co-management subcommittee of Utila.


Photo: BICA Utila



Photo: BICA Utila


The 11th Lionfish Derby was held. Fifty-four competitors participated in 13 teams from different diving schools. As a result of the derby, 184 lionfish were captured.


Photo: BICA Utila



Photo: BICA Utila



Photo: BICA Utila


The sustainability of its activities is important, so BICA Utila continues with the recycling project of glass bottles and the sale of glasses, ashtrays and cups.


Education and knowledge exchange

From September 16 to 25, BICA Utila participated in the 6th Exercise of Connectivity in the Mesoamerican (ECOME6). At the same time, BICA Utila continues with water quality monitoring activities carried out with the support of BICA Roatán.


Photo: BICA Utila



Photo: BICA Utila


To give continuity to the environmental education plan, BICA-Utila offered talks to 512 students about the flora and fauna of wetlands, marine fish, coral reefs, sea turtles, among others. A clean-up campaign was also carried out with the high school youths of the Nocturnal Institute.


Photo: BICA Utila


The “Reef Leaders” Project has a group of 12 young people, who were trained in the identification of reef fish, guides for the responsible consumption of fish, recycling, solid waste management and reef ecology.


Photo: BICA Utila

Fish Replenishment Zones

BICA Utila held a meeting with 18 fishermen from Los Cayitos, in which the study prepared by the Center for Marine Studies (CEM) regarding the biological baseline for the fish replenishment zones proposed in Utila was presented.


With support and accompaniment from the Directorate General of Fisheries (DIGEPESCA), CEM, Islas de la Bahia Foundation (FIB) and the Environment Unit of the Municipality of Utila (UMA), fishing licenses were granted to 46 resident fishers and 60 artisan fishers; 8 marketing licenses, 8 sports licenses and 15 licenses for smaller vessels were also delivered.


Other important activities

BICA Utila in coordination with the Municipal Environment Unit (UMA) worked to develop a solid waste management plan. The document is in its final revision stage and it is expected to be implemented in the second quarter of 2018.


The Go-Blue campaign, which is focused on responsible and sustainable tourism in the Bay Islands, started at the end of 2017, visiting 42 businesses, of which 12 are interested in participating and nine have already begun their training sessions. This campaign is going to be linked with the implementation of the waste management plan and in coordination with Utila municipality.

The Belize Marine Fund´s grants

In 2017 the Belize Marine Fund (BMF) awarded nine (9) grants through its Small and Targeted Grant Programs. Eligible topics for the 2017 grants included:


  1. Efforts related to the expansion, management, monitoring, control and surveillance operations of no-takes;
  2. Marine conservation policy;
  3. Efforts related to managed access national roll-out, and improving management effectiveness of MPAs;
  4. Strengthening the institutional capacity of marine conservation civil society organizations;
  5. Climate change resilience, blue carbon and the blue economy;
  6. Protection and restoration of fragile and degraded ecosystems;
  7. Promotion of sustainable income-generation for local communities; and
  8. Broad-based attitudinal and behavioral change for enhanced and effective marine resources management. Small grants are for a maximum of USD 30k and Targeted grants are for a maximum of USD 45k.


Highlights of these awards are as follows:



Small Grant Awards:


USD 30,000/1.5 years


Objective: Youths from Copper Bank, Chunox and Sarteneja will take part in a training program to build their knowledge, technical capacity and skills in marine research and monitoring techniques, as a form of alternative livelihood, and an approach for improved management effectiveness of Half Moon Caye and Blue Hole National Monument.


Through its efforts, BAS will provide skills training in snorkeling, diving and data collection (using national and regionally recognized methodologies) to high school students in the fishing communities of Chunox, Copper Bank and Sarteneja, equipping these youths with the tools, knowledge and field experience required for seeking other forms of employment in resources management, while encouraging them to become better stewards of their marine resources.

USD 30,000/1 year


Objective: The Turneffee Atoll Trust (TAT), in collaboration with key partners and stakeholders, will work to strengthen Turneffe´s fishing community, enhancing their ability to become environmental stewards and set the stage for Turneffe to become a model sustainable fishery.


TAT will work to develop a model sustainable commercial fishery at Turneffe Atoll, and advance its understanding of Turneffe’s blue carbon sequestration and storm mitigation values, as well as specific climate change challenges.


Photo: Turneffe Atoll Trust

Targeted Grant Awards:


USD 41,581/1 year


Objective: The Belize Audubon Society (BAS) will build compliance for marine resources management at Lighthouse Reef Atoll (MA Area 7) through increased surveillance, enforcement and engaging resource users in the decision making process.


With the national roll out of Managed Access (MA) in Belize in mid-2016, through this initiative, the BAS will take actions to ensure the successful implementation of MA, contributing to better fisheries management in the country.


Boat to Boat session: BAS Educates Fisher Folks on Managed Access
Photo: Belize Audubon Society

USD 45,000/1 year


Objective: Using its Framework for Integrated Stock and Habitat Evaluation (FISHE) – also called the adaptive management framework (AMF), the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) will assess the management of targeted finfish species in Belize.


The main goal of this undertaking is to prevent and reverse the trend of over-fishing of finfish by creating and implementing finfish management plan(s), through a science-based adaptive management process that works within the framework of a data limited fishery.

USD 45,000/1 year


Objective: This initiative will support the reef restoration efforts of FoH, at new and existing sites, while sustaining monitoring of coral coverage by analyzing photo-mosaic data at key sites.


Through this initiative, FoH will establish a new demonstration/replenishment site at False Caye; and out-plant a minimum of 5,000 nursery-grown Acroporid corals at Laughing Bird Caye National Park (LBCNP), South Silk Caye in the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve (GSSCMR), Moho Caye and False Caye. Additionally, the organization will expand its existing photo-mosaic data set for LBCNP, complementing this with photo-mosaic data from the Moho Caye control site; and maintain the collection of fish (and associated biodiversity) survey data at LBCNP and the Moho Caye and False Caye control sites.

USD 43,392/1 year


Objective: Sea to Shore Alliance will identify current and emerging threats to Belize’s manatee population by conducting strategic monitoring, tracking, and health assessments along the coast of Belize and in the Placencia Lagoon.


The organization will also conduct a review of historical data collected in the Placencia Lagoon to develop an accurate picture of past mortality events and trends—information that will be used to develop recommendations that will inform conservation action in that municipality.


In collaboration with key agencies and partners, Sea2Shore will work to address these threats through data collection, advocacy, enforcement and monitoring, and the implementation of conservation actions.


Photo: Sea to Shore Alliance

USD 44,952/1 year


Objective: According to TNC this Finance Platform for Sustainable Seaweed Production will contribute to the restoration of fisheries and protect marine habitat, while supporting livelihoods in coastal communities.


By building the economic resilience of the up-and-coming sustainable seaweed productive sector, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) will develop a platform through strategic partnerships that will provide a sustainable productive model that supports conservation, as an incentive for investments in sustainable seaweed.

USD 45,000/1 year


Objective: Through an Entertainment-Education Communication Strategy, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) will develop and broadcast a third season of the award-winning radio drama Punta Fuego and along with its complementary call-in show Talking Fuego.


Building up the achievements made in seasons 1 and 2, the main objective of season three is to further enhance the knowledge of, and promote sustainable attitudes and behaviors amongst Belize’s fishing community regarding marine protected areas (MPAs), the benefits of replenishment zones, and marine conservation initiatives.

USD 45,000/1.5 year


Objective: To better understand the resilience potential of targeted Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Belize, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will conduct a “snapshot” resilience assessment of a representative sample of Belize’s MPAs, analyzing a matrix of ecological, physical, socio-economic and adaptive capacity indicator.


The resilience assessment will be conducted in selected MPAs of the Belize Barrier Reef Complex and will include an analyses of: 1) the ecology of reef systems within a representative sample of MPAs to understand community cover/density, species redundancy, and spatial heterogeneity; 2) in-situ and satellite sea surface temperatures to understand exposure of reefs; 3) socio-economic impact to understand communities and stakeholders’ livelihood ties, conservation investment in the MPAs, and subsidies for effective conservation/ management; and 4) adaptive capacity of the MPAs to determine resilience potential.

Request For Proposals (2nd) 2017

Sustainable Marine Resources Management in Belize

In July 2017, the Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund) and the Belize Marine Fund launched their second request for proposals.


Its general objective was to support high-priority natural resources management and conservation initiatives in Belize.


Specific Objectives:


  1. To promote the sustainable use and management of Belize’s marine resources.
  2. To support civil society conservation organizations in targeted efforts geared at policy and legislative reforms for enhanced marine resources management.


The deadline to submit proposals was September 15, 2017. The Steering Committee met in May, 2018. As a result of the evaluation process, four proposals were approved. The approved projects were:

1. Oceana Inc:
Protecting Belize’s Marine Resources—by safeguarding the integrity of the Belize Barrier Reef System and marine resources from the hazards of offshore oil development and destructive gear such as ban gillnets.


2. Wildlife Conservation Society:
Through Stakeholder Participation in Sustainable Fisheries Management, will recommend and socialize new size limits for key commercial fisheries species in Belize using sound science, and the integration of stakeholder data collection systems.


3. Southern Environmental Association:
Increasing the Effectiveness of Sustainable Marine Resource Use and Management in SEA’s Co-managed Protected Areas—by enhance SEA’s capacity for increase management effectiveness, through site level infrastructural upgrades and improved stakeholder awareness.


4. MAR Alliance:
Scientific Characterization of the Emerging Deep-water Fisheries in Belize. Efforts that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the emerging deep-sea fishery in Belize through the collection of relevant scientific data and the construct of an ecological risk assessment (ERA) of the fishery.

MAR Fund Small Grants Program Request For Proposals

Joint Request for Proposals (9th) 2016

Supporting and Strengthening the Management of Coastal and Marine Protected Areas in the Mesoamerican Reef

The ninth request for proposals is currently under development and the eight projects have had interesting progress so far, as indicated below:

Grantee: SEA


Progress to date:


        • The draft Carrying Capacity Study was submitted to SEA on February 3, 2018.
        • The draft Management Plan for Laughing Bird Caye National Park was submitted on April 6, 2018
        • Both will be reviewed at a SEA staff and board level.
        • The last round of consultations are scheduled for May, 2018.

Grantee: CURLA in coordination with FUCAGUA


Progress to date:


        • The collection of data of density and biodiversity in seagrass beds as well as density of starfish continues
        • To carry out the carbon capture estimation study, a field trip was implemented to collect information related to biomass and sediments at seagrass beds, in order to estimate carbon capture in leaves and soil.
        • A meeting was held with DIGEPESCA to define the places where the anchor buoys for tourist boats will be placed.
        • A diagnosis about the training needs of micro entrepreneurs was made. This study provided the basis for the development of the workshop on business ideas.





Grantee: ASK


Progress to date:


        • The process of preparing the action plan for each ecotourism company was initiated based on the Maya Ka’an good practice guidelines. Up to date, four action plans have being design.
        • The training for Nature Tourism Guides certification, implemented with the support and experience of CENLATUR, finished for a group of 15 people of the 11 companies and park rangers of the Banco Chinchorro and Arrecife Xcalak.
        • All the participants passed their evaluations and the respective certification will be carried out directly with the Ministry of Tourism.
        • The implementation of the biosecurity campaign was followed up. With this, it is expected to maintain Banco Chinchorro, free of invasive species.


Photo: ASK


Photo: ASK

Grantee: CEMDA


Progress to date:


        • The geospatial analysis for the characterization of blue carbon ecosystems and the monitoring activities to determine the magnitude of the blue carbon sinks to define carbon capture / emission variations in conserved and disturbed sites continue.
        • The classification of mangroves was finished and there is a 75% of work for seagrasses.
        • The monitoring is being done with the support of community volunteers who were previously trained by CEMDA.
        • Involving people from the community in these activities is a strategy to raise awareness of the importance of these ecosystems.


Photo: CEMDA


Photo: CEMDA

Grantee: COBI


Progress to date:


        • A theoretical-practical workshop on biological-fishery monitoring of grouper species was developed, where the monitoring protocol, the field log, the species identification techniques and the steps for taking tissue samples were presented.
        • Two fishermen from Sian Ka’an visited Cozumel to exchange experiences in the monitoring of fish aggregations, bathymetry and prospecting dives.
        • A presentation was held at the Cozumel planetarium to inform about the importance of fish aggregation sites for sustainable fishing. This activity was addressed to general public were recreational divers showed greater interest in the subject..


Photo: COBI


Photo: COBI

Grantee: Moxviquil


Progress to date:


        • The third training module “Citizen participation” was developed from February 12 to 16, 2018 at Laguna de Bacalar, Quintana Roo.
        • During the field trip in Bacalar, participants asked a series of questions to find out about the current situation of the tourist industry and destinations and the conservation of its natural resources.
        • Participants shared their experiences about the replications of the training modules developed in their respective protected areas.


Photo: Moxviquil


Photo: Moxviquil

Grantee: PPY


Progress to date:


        • The aquatic censuses have been completed for the observation and capture of juveniles in Punta Caracol, Los Cuevones and Punta Mosquito. .
        • The information collected will be analyzed to estimate the relative abundances by species.
        • One of the turtles captured during one of the censuses corresponds to a turtle tagged in Xcacel. This is an indicator that the turtle population in south of Quintana Roo uses the marine zone of Yum Balam to feed.
        • This finding will serve as a guideline to continue investigating the connectivity with other feeding areas in the region.


Photo: PPY


Photo: PPY

Grantee: OCEANUS


Progress to date:


        • Two monitoring and cleaning of nurseries designated for the Cozumel area were carried out. Unfortunately, two nurseries installed in Chankanaab had a high mortality and they will be relocated to another area.
        • Four nurseries were installed in Dzul-Há, where rescued fragments of Acropora palmata and other species were placed.
        • Training continues with the local restoration group (10 participants from NGOs and individuals), practicing maintenance and monitoring techniques.
        • Three meetings have been held with the tourist agency Xplora, to organize activities of the project. This agency will be developing tours linked to the project that contribute economically for its sustainability in the long term.



MAR Fund Small Grants Program Request For Proposals

Joint Request for Proposals (10th) 2017

Supporting and Strengthening the Management of Coastal and Marine Protected Areas in the Mesoamerican Reef

In July 2017, the French Global Environment Facility, the Government of Germany through KfW, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation and the Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund) launched the 10th joint request for proposals.


With the overall objective to contribute to the conservation of the ecological functions of the Mesoamerican Reef System, the three specific objectives of the call were:


        1. To support the protection and conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems in priority areas.
        2. To promote the participation of civil society in best management practices and sustainable use of coastal and marine resources.
        3. To strengthen communication and exchanges for effective adoption of new practices.


The deadline to submit proposals was September 15, 2017. Thirty-four proposals were submitted distributed as follows: 16 from Mexico, 3 from Belize, 7 from Guatemala and 8 from Honduras.


The Grants and Evaluation Committee meeting was held on November 28, 2017. As a result of the evaluation process, eleven proposals were approved. The total amount for projects in this RfP was US$273,255.


The approved projects were:

        1. Implementing of Good Practices in Sustainability for the Tourist Operation in Holbox, to be developed by Casa Wayúu
        2. Participatory monitoring of reef fish recruitment: indicator of connectivity in the Mesoamerican Reef (Targeted Grant), to be developed by ECOSUR-Chetumal
        3. Strengthening strategies and surveillance operations in Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, to be developed by Fundación Comunitaria Cozumel
        4. Participatory formulation of the biosecurity protocol of Cozumel Island, to be developed by GECI
        5. Juvenile Leadership School for the conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems of three MPA of Quintana Roo, to be developed by Moxviquil
        1. Strengthening strategic planning and financial management of the protected area Bocas del Polochic Wildlife Refuge, to be developed by FDN
        2. Promoting the sustainable management of the marine and coastal zone of the Sarstun Region, to be developed by APROSARSTUN
        3. Climate change adaptation strategies in four communities of the Punta Manabique Wildlife Refuge -RVSPM-, to be developed by Fundación Mundo Azul
        1. Taking care of my reef and my water system, to be developed by POLO’s Water Association
        2. Promotion of new productive activities and environmental education related to the recycling of discarded materials for the proper management of solid waste, to be developed by BICA-Roatan
        3. Apicultural alternative for the conservation and sustainable development of my community, to be developed by APICOR

We will keep you updated on the progress and results achieved by these projects.

Additional Projects

Grantee: Oceanus


Progress to date:


        • 2,520 additional colonies have been planted in four sites in the Mexican Caribbean:
          • 1150 in Arrecife de Xcalak
          • 250 in Puerto Morelos
          • 620 in Arrecife de Cozumel
          • 500 in mayakobá
        • With these 2,250 new colonies, 25% of the colonies proposed for 2018 has been reached.
        • At Xcalak, previously transplanted colonies were observed growing healthily and reaching sizes around 20-30 cm.
        • At Mayakobá outplant survival is 80-90%.
        • A local restoration group is being trained in Cozumel.
        • A restoration workshop was carried out in Roatan Island in coordination with Centro de Estudios Marinos.
        • OCEANUS, the Mexican NGO undertaking the project, was invited to share its experiences in a global workshop with scientist and practitioners in restoration, to be held in August 2018 in Bali, Indonesia.



Grantee: SACD


Progress to date:


        • Realignment process:
          • Seven conservation zones have been proposed, covering 17,622 has (19% of the total area)
          • Recommendation of the inclusion of and 8th area as an additional conservation area – increase the total conservation area by 14,027 ha
          • Total of 31,649 ha
        • In 2017, 183 patrols were successfully implemented. 83 joint patrols with the Belize Coast Guard, the Fisheries Department and the Forest Department.
        • Illegal gill net use within CBWS show a decline, with only 2 gill net related infractions (both nets were confiscated) and a 17% decrease in the total infractions for 2017 compared to 2016.
        • 41 patrols in first quarter of 2018; 23 were joint patrols with the Belize Coast Guard.


Photo: SACD

Re-granting in the Mesoamerican Reef

Oak Foundation requested MAR Fund for a specific proposal to manage seven projects that several organizations are still running in the MAR region over the next 2-4 years. The donor requested this initiative to be handled from a central executing unit in the MAR Fund office.


Plans were drawn up for the operation of the MAR Fund´s Small Grants Program and the proposed mechanism for administering the seven projects.


The proposal document requested by Oak was sent for the administration of these projects, for a total amount of US$2 million for up to four years. Oak Foundation approved the “re-granting” proposal and the Grant Letter was signed on August 22, 2016.


The grantees of this re-granting are HRI and ELAW, which are regional initiatives; and CoBi (Mex), CEM (Hon), SEA, TIDE and SACD (Bez).


Again, we are very grateful to Oak Foundation’s confidence!


After reviewing proposals and preparing and signing grant agreements, to date, the seven grantees are implementing their projects. They are:


  • Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative (HRI): Healthy Reefs for Healthy People: Strengthening the Scientific Foundation.


  • Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C. (COBI): Assuring the long-term success of the network of fish refuges in the Mexican MAR.


  • Centro de Estudios Marinos (CEM): Ensuring the Sustainability of No Take Zones in the Honduran Caribbean.


  • Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW): Legal Advocacy to Protect Marine and Coastal Resources in the MAR.


  • Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD): Strengthening SACD management and institutional capacity for long term sustainability.


  • Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE): Strengthening financial sustainability initiatives to support management of Port Honduras Marine Reserve.


  • Southern Environmental Association (SEA): Improving the financial stability of the Southern Environmental Association (SEA).


  • Between July and August, 2017, the seven approved projects (3 for Honduras and 4 for Guatemala) submitted their interim technical and financial reports to MAR Fund and between January and March 2018, these projects submitted their final technical and financial reports. The final disbursements to these projects were made, after the approval of the reports.


  • Follow-up has been provided through direct calls and emails. From November 2017 to January 2018, the seven projects were monitored by the MAR Fund focal points of Honduras and Guatemala, to provide support for the technical report.


  • Through GAGGA´s Grant Agreement, MAR Fund administrates for Fundación Tierra Viva, an Honduran NGO, 10 small projects that were supported in Central America as follows: 3 in Guatemala, 4 in Honduras, 1 in El Salvador and 2 in Nicaragua.


  • On October 19, 2017 the small project Grantees held a meeting in Puerto Barrios, Izabal, Guatemala to exchange experiences and report about the progress of their activities. This information was collected as the basis for systematizing the lessons learnt. Nineteen people participated in the meeting. Systematization of lessons learnt finalized in February.


  • On March 5 and 6, 2018 the final workshop to close the project activities with Grantees took place in Puerto Barrios, Izabal, Guatemala. This activity helped strengthen interaction between women from NGOs and community-based groups, socialize results, lessons learnt, joint work opportunities in the future, the impact of activities and to share information about other initiatives in the region. As a conclusion to this workshop, a discussion on advocacy and climate change was held, sharing some tools to carry out advocacy and lobbying activities for women’s rights and environmental justice.


  • On May 15, 2018 MAR Fund submitted the final technical and financial report to BothENDs.


MAR Fund provided followed-up to the seven projects (3 in Guatemala and 4 in Honduras). The results of these projects are:

The inhabitants of the Garifuna communities of Honduras attended a diploma course on how to improve their leadership, risk management capacity and their proactive participation against climate change.


The diploma is promoted by Organización de Desarrollo Étnico Comunitario (ODECO) and professionals from different disciplines, who work in institutions related to the course topics, provided the training.


The main objective of this diploma is that young women have greater awareness and impact on ecosystem conservation and community forests that surround them.


The students must carry out an internship, which includes the preparation and revision of a graduation project, as well as a stakeholder mapping exercise, essential for post-project political advocacy.


The graduation of this diploma took place, on December 16 at Centro Cultural Satuye in La Ceiba, Honduras, were 22 women received the respective diploma of graduation.


After graduation it is recommended to continue supporting the women group, for the incidence and empowerment of Afro-Honduran women, connect them to regional and national participation spaces and provide them with tools and technology that will increase their level of inclusion and competitiveness.

Women from four communities in the upper area of the Cuyamel Omoa National Park in Honduras, are being trained to understand and assert their rights, as well as, the importance of their active participation in the development of their communities and in health and environmental issues.


The women from La Ceibita, Mount Sinai, San José de las Brisas and Santo Domingo, participated in the project Strengthening Women’s Leadership with Emphasis on Political Advocacy, Environmental Justice and their Rights, which is promoted by Medicusmundi Bizkaia and Asociación para el Desarrollo de Occidente (ASODOC), with the support of the Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund) and the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA).


One of the goals of the project is to empower women to contribute to the conservation of natural resources and adaptation to climate change in their communities.


It also intends to implement an organizational and training strategy to promote spaces for direct advocacy by women with local governments and other entities that are involved in environmental preservation.


Among the first activities carried out after the training, was the elaboration of posters prepared with the technical support of the Municipal Office for Women and the Environmental Technical Unit, which were presented in the Open Health Council of the Community of Tegucigalpita.


Another successful result is that the Municipal Office for Women leads the four groups of participants, who are organized to fight for their rights, including healthy environment.


An assembly was also held in the four communities where the participants of the course are from. The attendance of 49 neighbors was achieved, as well as representatives from Medicusmundi-bizkaia, the Mennonite Social Action Commission and the Omoa Municipality.


Communication is the key to success

A consultant team was hired to develop the Information, Education and Communication Strategy (IEC) on community participation themes from a gender equity approach for the defense of women rights and the environment.


In addition, in a training workshop, attendees developed elements for the information, education and communication strategy. They were also trained in advocacy participation, environmental justice and women rights. The four groups were organized into two sectors, according to the location of their communities next to the Cuyamel River.


To date there has been 4 radio spots, an educational magazine, stickers and shirts with messages that seek to reinforce the self-esteem of women.


For greater success of the training received, participants will be guided in strengthening their relationships of solidarity and commitment and will also be taken to Cuyamel Omoa National Park to share experiences and knowledge.


Women are the protagonists of a commission made up of volunteers and community representatives that are fighting against the construction of a new hydroelectric project on the Cuyamel River in Honduras.


They have been the driving force behind the visibility of the commission’s work and the establishment of alliances with other groups pursuing similar objectives.


In order to strengthen women´s empowerment in their current goal, the project “Visibilizing women in advocacy processes, in the management and self-sustainability of community groups in defense of natural resources and the right to water”, is carried out.  This project is supported by the Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund), Cuerpos de Conservación de Omoa (CCO) and the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA).


It also aims to promote, the long-term sustainability of the Cuyamel river defense and economic activities of common benefit.


To date, meetings have been held with social alliances in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula and follow-up has been given to the complaint about the San José de las Brisas project, filed with the competent authorities to find the corresponding solutions.


In the same way, a School of Political Advocacy has been established, an advocacy plan has been executed in communication media and social networks, because as the slogan of the Commission for the Defense of the Cuyamel River says: “The Cuyamel River is not given away, neither sold, nor rented … its defended”.




In the upper Cuyamel river basin, there are intends to install a third hydroelectric plant, which would not only affect its flow -which is a historical natural heritage for the inhabitants of Villa de Cuyamel- but also the survival of the cuyamel fish (Joturus pichardi) which is an endanger species.


The local authorities indicated to the residents that the project is of low impact because flowing water power plants will be installed.


However, the works they are building is a dam, where the electrical energy generated by the discharge of water stops the continuous flow of the river for intervals and this affects the ecosystems of the lower basin.


According to the Commission for the Defense of the Cuyamel River, since the installation of the first hydroelectric project, the flow of the river is unstable. At certain times of the day it diminishes up to 50%, its waters are no longer transparent and this affects the neighbors, because it is their source of this vital liquid.



Peaceful protests asking to protect the Cuyamel River



Strengthening the resilience capacity of the coastal communities of the Rio Sarstún Multiple Use Area through the participation of women, is the general objective of a project led by the Multicultural Association of Women for Integral and Sustainable Development (AMMUDIS for its initials in Spanish) and supported by MAR Fund and GAGGA.


To achieve the goal, four workshops called “Coastal Community Promoting Program” have been held. During the trainings, women were taught about climate change, sustainable fishing, solid waste, leadership and community initiative plans.


The attendees are from three communities of Sarstún: San Juan, Creek Chino, Cocolí and from two communities of Cacahuatal: Esperanza and Julhá. They were interested in learning about generating the minimum conditions to improve their livelihoods and reduce the impacts of climate change in the region’s natural resources.


The project trained 31 women who also received a farming kit and fruit trees.


“We have learned to improve our administrative and management capacities; and we have acquired equipment, utensils and supplies to develop productive activities”, commented with joy a member of the Women’s Commission of El Quetzalito, who are being trained in different technics to help improve their livelihoods and their community.


Currently, these dynamic women are also part of the Association of Farmers and Fishermen of the Motagua Sector (AGRIPESCA for its initials in Spanish) of the El Quetzalito community, in the municipality of Puerto Barrios, department of Izabal, in Guatemala.


They are divided into two groups. The first one is dedicated to gastronomy and they prepare delicious local food, including lionfish as the main dish. The second group manages a bookstore/ workshop in which they sell school supplies and spare parts for the repair of marine engines.


The store


Their initiative has allowed them to participate in the project “Women Dedicated to Artisanal Fishing, Improve and Diversify their Family Economy in the Community of El Quetzalito”, through which they have received training that has helped them improve their services and knowledge.


Gastronomic Fair of Izabal


For example, the gastronomy group participated in the Gastronomic Fair of Izabal 2017, developed dishes using lionfish and received several recognitions, including one from the Izabal Committee that also promotes tourism in the department.


Gastronomic Fair of Izabal


The community of El Quetzalito is established in the sector of banana plantations, within the Punta de Manabique Wildlife Refuge Protected Area, also known as the “Motagua Sector” and adjoin the Honduran border.

The Balam Asociation, Sotz’il, the Peten Environmental Justice Forum, Bajareque Asosiation and the Alliance of Environmental Law and Water (ADA2 for its initials in Spanish) signed a cooperation agreement to promote the creation of the Izabal Environmental Justice Forum within the framework of the Motagua Initiative.

Forum on Environmental Justice


The establishment of the forum promotes joint actions to contribute in the generation of local capacities to support the application of current environmental laws.


It is also expected that the Forum will become a permanent inter-institutional coordination platform, to increase the level of environmental justice in the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala.


On November 3, 2017 the forum was established, achieving the participation of magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice, the National Council of Protected Areas, The Ministry of Environment, The Public Ministry, Alliance of Environmental Law and Water, Balam Association among other actors.


The establishment of the forum promotes joint actions to contribute in the generation of local capacities to support the application of current environmental laws.


It is also expected that the Forum will become a permanent inter-institutional coordination platform, to increase the level of environmental justice in the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala.


On November 3, 2017 the forum was established, achieving the participation of magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice, the National Council of Protected Areas, The Ministry of Environment, The Public Ministry, Alliance of Environmental Law and Water, Balam Association among other actors.

Magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice and members of the National Council of Protected Areas among other actors visited the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala.

In the Rio Sarstún Multiple Use Area, 22 garifuna leaders attended a workshop to increase their knowledge and participation in the sustainable management of natural resources, poverty reduction and adaptation to climate change in their communities.


For three days the active women who live on or near the beach between the Sarstún River and the city of Livingston learned about resilience to climate change, human rights and gender, current national and international legislation related to these topics, as well as good practices for sustainable tourism.


After receiving the training, the participants were divided into groups to promote small projects in their localities.


The theme and methodology of the workshop will be replicated with other 22 women, this time of Q’ueqchi ‘origin, residents of the Rio Sarstun Multiple Use Area.

The Mesoamerican Reef Rescue Initiative

In January 2017, Claudia Ruiz began working at MAR Fund as the Executing Unit’s Coordinator. She organized the Annual Work Plan, prepared material and carried out the first Technical Supervisory Committee (TSC) meeting in Chetumal, Mexico, from March 29 – 30. During the meeting, the TSC approved very important activities to be developed in 2017.

The Reef Restoration Network is a nascent community of engaged researchers and organizations in the four countries. Oceanus was the lead organization in creating the Network, and an initial meeting in 2012.


In 2017, with the support of the Initiative, a first biennial meeting of the Reef Restoration Network took place in Akumal, Mexico. More than 60 experts and reef restoration practitioners, including national authorities of the four countries participated in the meeting. Key note speakers included experts from outstanding organizations such as, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund-US, Healthy Reef Initiative, Oceanus, the MAR Leadership Program and the Coral Reef Crime Science Investigation Program (CSI).


Results from this meeting include, the reactivation of the Network, the conformation of the Network´s Executive Committee, a first draft of the Statutes of the Network, a draft chronogram highlighting key activities for the next year, and maps depicting key sites for restoration. In addition, a website for the Network has been created and it is continuously improved. For more information about the Reef Restoration Network please visit

A very exciting innovation that the MAR Fund intends to pursue is the idea of creating a catastrophe derivative insurance to cover against potential losses following damage to coral reefs due to hurricanes. In support of the creation of the insurance model, in June 2017, MAR Fund signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Nature Conservancy (TNC).


A preliminary insurance model for reefs has been designed by TNC for the National Park of Puerto Morelos in Quintana Roo. Based on this experience, MAR Fund and TNC will work together for building the insurance model for additional key sites in the MAR Region.


In 2017 the main phases needed for designing an insurance model were developed in close collaboration with The Nature Conservancy.


In addition, the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) approved a proposal presented by MAR Fund, for $ 60,000 to co-finance the design of the insurance. In 2018, a prioritization of the key sites for designing the insurance model will be carried out in coordination with the Reef Restoration Network and the Initiative´s Technical Supervisory Committee. Also, a risk analysis will be carried out to learn the probability of the hurricanes to happen and the parameters or characteristics of the hurricanes that would trigger the insurance.

In 2017, baseline studies were conducted in order to obtain information relevant to reef restoration in the region. Preliminary results include a set of thematic maps portraying the coral reef sites with respect to prevailing risks (such as hurricanes), conservation activities, productive activities, and key biodiversity.


The maps also aim to guide the reef restoration and rehabilitation efforts in the region. As well, the analysis will add valuable information for modeling the insurance schemes at other priority sites in the MAR.


The maps will be also an important tool to raise awareness and interest within the governments, the scientists, the local communities, and a broader public within and outside the MAR. Also, a preliminary review was conducted to identify and analyze the current legislation and regulations related to reef restoration in the MAR Region and make the appropriate recommendations that facilitates reef restoration, as well as the actions required in each country for building and carrying out regional protocols.


The studies will be completed in 2018.

A second ordinary meeting of Technical Supervisory Committee was carried out in November 2017 in Antigua Guatemala.

The Committee reviewed the current implementation of the Initiative, and provided recommendations for the actions to be conducted in 2018.

KfW visit to the MAR region

On April 17, David Rusnok, Project Manager from KfW, visited MAR Fund’s central office. A presentation was offered on Phase II progress, focusing on the projects’ indicators and the evaluation of administrative processes. From April 18 to 22, an administrative audit visit to two protected areas of the Project was carried out: Manatee Sanctuary State Reserve in Mexico and Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize. Jens Mackensen, Chief of the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Management for Latin America and the Caribbean of KfW, also participated in the visit. Lorenzo Rosenzweig, Chair; Maria Jose Gonzalez, Executive Director, Cintia Landa, Mexican Focal Point; Roberto Pott, Belizean Focal Point; Enrico Gasparri, Permanent Expert and Claudio Gonzalez, Technical Coordinator, participated from MAR Fund. The mission was also joined by all the staff from each of the two protected areas.


Mr. Rusnok evaluated the administrative processes undertaken in each area. No observations were made and minor recommendations were offered.


Field visits in each protected area were also made so Mr. Mackensen and Mr. Rusnok were able to see the work on the ground. They were pleased with the results and clear advances of the project in both sites.


Contact us if you need additional information