Promoting Community Stewardship of Natural Resources in and Around the Port Honduras Marine Reserve
Promoting Community Stewardship of Natural Resources in and Around the Port Honduras Marine Reserve
This project is designed to improve the effectiveness of conservation and sustainable use initiatives in and around the Port Honduras Marine Reserve (PHMR) through increased stakeholder participation. The goal is that community stakeholders are actively participating in conservation and protected area management initiatives in and around PHMR, in particular the managed access fishery program currently being piloted by the Fisheries Department and TIDE.
The ecosystems of Toledo are still relatively pristine and contain an extremely high level of biodiversity. However, rapid population growth, combined with a high level of reliance on natural resource extraction, a generally low level of environmental awareness and integration into the global market economy are placing unprecedented pressure on Toledo’s ecosystems. The case of unsustainable rosewood extraction until the introduction of a national moratorium in early 2012 highlights the need for improved community capacity for sustainable management.
In the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, the Fisheries Department, TIDE, the Environmental Defence Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society and local community members are piloting a regionally novel method of fisheries management: managed access. Under managed access, fishing in PHMR is limited to ~150 traditional users. With buy-in from the fishing community, managed access and catch shares have proved highly effective tools in MPAs around the world. The Fisheries Department is keen to expand the program to all of Belize’s MPAs and so the lessons learned during pilot projects in PHMR and at Glover’s Reef will be valuable.
Community consultations were conducted for almost three years before managed access was introduced. A recent poll showed that >80% of managed access license holders attended ?1 of these meetings and that the majority felt that their concerns were taken into account in the design of the program. Fishers have a central role in the management of the program via the PHMR Community Managed Access Committee, which is made up of representatives from Monkey River, Punta Negra, Punta Gorda, the Fisheries Department, Rio Grande Fishing Cooperative, the Toledo Tour Guide Association, TIDE and the Environmental Defence Fund.
However, it is clear that there is still much confusion among fishers and other stakeholders regarding managed access. Misunderstandings regarding the licensing process and the details of the regulations (for instance regarding the legality of license-holders and non-license-holders fishing together in the same boat) are common and the quality of catch data submitted is generally low. There is clearly a need for improved communication. This project will, among other things, pilot innovative methods of disseminating key messages.
This project will involve a variety of activities targeted at the goal of enhanced community ownership of natural resource management activities. Some project activities will build on established programs while other will pilot novel methods. TIDE’s Junior and Senior Community Steward Programs will allow more local people to participate in conservation activities, such as TIDE’s monitoring and research activities, and so develop capacity as conservation leaders in their communities. The Youth Conservation Competition intends to continue to provide constructive, innovative environmental education opportunities on the importance of the BBRRS for community members of all ages, and to provide scholarships for aspiring conservationists and young community leaders. The project will also involve community members in the efforts to eradicate the invasive lionfish.
The project aligns very closely with objectives 2 and 3 of the COMPACT programme, which aim to:
2. Promote the protection, conservation, and sustainable use of the resources of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System – World Heritage Site by community groups, community-based organizations and the general public;
3. Develop and/or enhance the management capacities of the community groups who use and impact the resources of the BBRRS-WHS as well as those who participate in the co-management of the protected areas.


Project Snapshot

Toledo Institute for Development and Environment
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 55,148.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed

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Grantee Contact

Mrs. Celia Mahung
Phone: 501-722-2274


One Mile, San Antonio Road
Latin America & Caribbean , 501


SGP Country office contact

Mr. Leonel Requena
(501) 822-2462


UNDP Belize,3rd Floor, Lawrence Nicholas Building Complex ,P.O. Box 53,South Ring Road,
Belmopan, Central America