Caribbean/Latin America CRSD Sites
Building on Progress
The Secretary of Tourism and Director of Protected Areas of Quintana Roo, Mexico, officially endorsed the ICRAN Mesoamerican Reef Alliance (MAR) project in April 2005. CORAL leads the sustainable marine tourism component of the project, partnering with local, regional, and international organizations to create and secure adoption for voluntary standards of conduct in the region.
Nestled between North, Central, and South America, the Caribbean Sea is characterized by the warm waters typical of coral reef locations lying between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer. CORAL's work in the wider Caribbean region currently focuses on communities located near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef
Stretching from the northern Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, south along the borders of Belize and Guatemala in Central America, and on to the Bay Islands of Honduras, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, and is home to some of the richest biodiversity in the wider Caribbean. The reef is a vital natural resource for coastal communities throughout the region, supporting major fisheries and local food supplies, coastal protection from storms, and a robust marine tourism industry. Yet threats to the reef have increased significantly in recent years, including overfishing, pollution from intensive coastal development and poor watershed management, and rapid growth in marine tourism activities. In late 2004, CORAL began work on a multilateral initiative to address threats to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and has made great strides in improving the environmental and economic sustainability of the marine tourism sector throughout the region. Find out more about the Mesoamerican Reef Alliance (MAR) and our work in the region »
The Impact of MPAs
This award-winning video shows just how effective CORAL's approach can be, comparing the unprotected and declining Akumal, Mexico, reef with the thriving marine protected area in Cozumel where CORAL works.
One of CORAL’s greatest achievements in Mesoamerica to date is the development and publication of voluntary environmental performance standards for the marine tourism sector. The standards were the result of a pioneering initiative that brought together stakeholders from across the region to collaborate on and codify best practices to minimize the environmental footprint of tour operations on the reef. Published in 2007, the standards are currently being implemented throughout the region. Find out more about the breakthrough voluntary standards »
Sustainable Seafood Guides
In Mesoamerica, populations of fish species such as the goliath grouper and Nassau grouper have collapsed, and other commercially important species like the Caribbean spiny lobster and queen conch are at risk. In order to protect coral reefs and promote responsible seafood consumption, our local conservation partners in Cozumel, Mexico, and the Bay Islands of Honduras have developed sustainable seafood guides tailored to their specific regions.
Honduras: Since 2004, CORAL has worked on the island of Roatan and throughout the Bay Islands to develop an array of locally-led conservation initiatives and to improve the management effectiveness of the Sandy Bay-West End Marine Park and other protected areas in the islands. More »
Mexico: In Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, two popular tourist destinations in Mexico, CORAL is building a pioneering alliance between resource managers and the private sector to reduce reef threats and increase environmental awareness through education and outreach at the local level. More »