The short story
CORAL’s primary sites in Honduras are on the islands of Roatan and Utila, with outreach to the greater Bay Islands. The first pilot site for the ICRAN MAR Voluntary Marine Recreation Standards project, Roatan and its marine resource managers and marine tourism operators are actively partnering with CORAL to identify and implement community-led conservation initiatives and to conduct workshops on sustainable marine recreation (SMR). Participants— marine recreation operators, local community leaders, resort owners, concerned divers, scientists, nonprofit representatives, and government officials—learn about the global distribution, ecology, and conservation status of coral reefs, as well as sustainable marine tourism in coral reef destinations. SMR workshops have helped spread reef conservation information to more key stakeholders in the area.
CORAL’s long-term vision for coral reef conservation in the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) region is to mobilize an environmentally and economically sustainable marine tourism industry that is fully integrated into marine protected area (MPA) management and producing economic benefits to the community. CORAL and its partners provide technical and financial assistance to Roatan’s marine recreation sector, the local community, non-governmental organizations, and local government in support of user fee systems, improved marine patrols, and other conservation programs launched by the Roatan Marine Park and other island organizations.
More progress in Honduras
CORAL has seed-funded the Utila Conservation Fund to support other local nonprofits working on marine conservation issues on the island of Utila. We partner with those nonprofits on many community-based events, including ocean festivals, large-scale beach cleanups and eco-tours for kids and adults; we have also partnered with them to produce sustainable seafood guides and to help conduct a carbon capture study in Utila’s mangroves.
Examples of progress
- In 2013, CORAL worked with partners to monitor coastal water quality and with the municipality to connect more homes and businesses to wastewater treatment plants in Roatan.
- In 2013, we helped complete a management plan for Cordelia Banks and worked to have Capiro Banks declared as a Site of Wildlife Importance.
- In 2013, we trained 28 Honduran government officials on sustainable marine recreation practices.
- CORAL has helped Honduras joined its neighbors in Belize, Mexico, and Guatemala to approve and publish the first-ever Voluntary Standards for Marine Recreation in the Mesoamerican Reef System.
- The CORAL Reef Leadership Network includes leaders from diverse backgrounds who can reach broad audiences in Bay Islands communities.