en mesoamerican reef

Bright Spots in Community-led Conservation Across the Mesoamerican Reef

Stretching over 1,100 km, from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula to the northern coast of Honduras, the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) is the largest reef system in the Western Hemisphere. The livelihood of over two million people across the region depend directly on the health of the reef. But overfishing continues to jeopardize these livelihoods and communities across the region.

Rare is partnering with local governments, fishers associations, fishers groups and other local organizations in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Mexico to catalyze grassroots initiatives to protect the reef system and improve livelihoods for fishers and their communities, into a movement for national adoption of local, community-based coastal fisheries management.

Bright Spots

In a new film series, produced in partnership with Summit, we’re sharing the stories behind these initiatives—or “Bright Spots”—which are inspiring national and regional adoption of community-led conservation measures to protect coastal communities along the MAR.

Bright Spots Trailer: Changing Behaviors, Conserving the Mesoamerican Reef

Bright Spots: Building a Network of Change in Honduras


Mayors Build a Network for Change in Honduras

Through the leadership of local fishers and its mayor, Spurgeon Miller, the community of Guanaja is becoming a beacon for sustainable resource management. In 2016, acting on the request of local fishers, Mayor Miller declared two no-take reserves to help fish populations regenerate. Now, Guanaja’s success is sparking interest from other mayors, and building a network for change. 
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Activating Fisher Groups, Catalyzing Conservation in Belize

Belize is known as a pioneer in national adoption of managed access. But to achieve its national goals, it needs local participation. Fishers working together in associations, and networked with each other, can be growing voice in the decision-making and management of Belize’s managed access system.
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Bright Spots: Activating Fisher Groups, Catalyzing Conservation in Belize

Bright Spots: In Mexico, Building on What Works


In Mexico, Building on What Works

In Mexico, fishers and government have established a tradition of using “concessions” – management mechanisms that empower local fishers and protect coastal waters from overfishing. This example of local, community-based management demonstrates the proven, positive impact of giving local fishers authority over their local waters.
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Fishing Communities in Guatemala Take Action

In countries where government institutions face challenges, communities are often left to solve their own problems. In Río Sarstún, Guatemala, fishers came together to take their local waters – and their futures – into their own hands.
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Bright Spots: Fishing Communities in Guatemala Take Action

Building on what we learned

Rare’s work in the MAR will be based on what we learned from our deep dive into five years’ worth of data from Rare’s first 41 Fish Forever sites in the Philippines, Indonesia and Brazil. Explore findings from the Fish Forever Program Review.