Mesoamerican Reef

Stories from the Reef

Fisher spears a lionfish

With its ornately patterned body and fan-like fins, the Pacific red lionfish is a striking creature, and a fiendishly successful predator. It eats almost any small fish or crustacean and is found in a wide range of habitats. The lionfish has transformed into one of the biggest threats to marine life in the Atlantic Ocean,… Read More »

Children with art display

Plastic pollution isn’t new to the Bay Islands of Honduras. On the three largest islands­ – Roatán, Utila, and Guanaja – locals have recognized its negative effects on their environment. At the same time, it has become so common that it is often invisible. Think Beyond Plastic, an innovation accelerator, is pioneering a unique approach… Read More »

Cozumel beach

The island of Cozumel has no shortage of attractions. About 20 miles from the northeastern coastline of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Cozumel is surrounded by coral reefs, rimmed by ivory beaches, and covered with forests and wetlands that are home to endemic species. The problem is that Cozumel is visited by more than… Read More »

MAR Leadership 2015 cohort

José Domingo Caal, a native of Izabal on Guatemala’s vibrant Caribbean coast, has dedicated his work to improving the local livelihoods and conserving the natural resources of his home region. A founding member of the Mayan Association for Rural Wellbeing in the Sarstun Region, José Domingo works to raise awareness of the link between environmental… Read More »

Mayan workers monitor shrimp in Belize.

In the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) countries of Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala, agriculture is vital to the national economy. While less important in Mexico, it still accounts for 4% of the gross domestic product. Yet commercial agriculture (“agribusinesses”), located in the watersheds that drain into the Caribbean, present a dire threat to the health of the… Read More »

Whale shark

Central America has banned shark finning—the practice of removing a shark’s fins and discarding the animal in the sea—but the consumption of shark and ray meat continues. In Honduras, shark fishing is banned throughout most of the country, and in Belize there is limited consumption of shark meat. However, demand for shark fillet across the… Read More »

Coral transplantation in Akumal, Mexico

The Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund) was established in 2004 to ensure long-term financial support for conservation of the Mesoamerican Reef. It has since become a catalyst of innovative local conservation initiatives and regional partnerships in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. The MAR Fund was created by the leaders of national conservation funds in the four MAR… Read More »

A local guide's boat on the beach in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.

The same tropical climate and clear water that facilitated the development of the Mesoamerican Reef over the course of millennia have helped make the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations in a matter of decades. Ivory beaches, turquoise sea, and multicolored marine life draw close to ten… Read More »

Fed up with mountains of garbage, the Mayor of Omoa on the Caribbean coast of Honduras suggested filing suit against Guatemala for its failure to keep waste from flowing out of the Motagua watershed and onto Honduras’ beaches…. Read More »

The Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative is a consortium of more than 30 organizations that addresses a key question: How do we know whether the Reef is healthy or not, and how can we track our progress in improving it?… Read More »