Establishment of a Network of Fishing Refuges in Banco Chinchorro, Quintana Roo

Mesoamerican Coral Reef

Marine Reserves

OBJECTIVE: To protect species of commercial and/or ecological importance, particularly groupers and snappers, and to promote their recovery.

On September 12, 2013, a fishing refuge in Banco Chinchorro was established at the request of three cooperatives – Langosteros del Caribe, Pescadores del Banco Chinchorro, and Andrés Quintana Roo – and with the support of COBI and partners from the Kanan Kay alliance.

Afterward, a team of fishers from each cooperative began to collect biological data and monitor the refuge. They were trained and certified in autonomous diving, submarine monitoring, and techniques to identify species.

Monitoring activities include taking an inventory of ecologically and commercially important fish, corals, key invertebrates and the type of substrate. It is important to note that this methodology was adopted to obtain the necessary indicators for the assessment of fishing refuges.

The divers also monitor reproductive aggregation sites. This monitoring consists of finding sites where species that are commercially and ecologically important, like groupers and snappers, are added once or twice a year, during certain lunar phases, to carry out reproduction. During these events, large numbers of organisms from the same species are concentrated in a rather small area. Some places could be used multiple times by different species throughout the year, so it is important to preserve these sites.

In some cases, reproductive aggregations can be subject to overfishing, as they allow for important captures with reduced effort. However, all monitoring activities coordinated by COBI are carried out by trained fishers from the area, thus ensuring the protection and sustainable use of the species.

  • 1 fishing refuge established by decree
  • 122 square kilometers of fishing refuge
  • 22 fishers are directly involved
  • Alianza Kanan Kay
  • Oak Foundation
  • Sociedad Cooperativa de Producción Pesquera Pescadores del Banco Chinchorro
  • Sociedad Cooperativa de Producción PesqueraLangosteros del Caribe
  • Sociedad Cooperativa de Producción Pesquera Andrés Quintana Roo
  • Summit Foundation
  • Alianza WWF-FCS

This project is constantly evolving, and your support is key to making an impact on marine conservation and sustainable fishery. The following list details our current project needs. You can also donate directly to COBI by contacting our donations team: Let’s all do our part!

  • Media interested in reporting on the fishing refuges and reproductive aggregation sites of Banco Chinchorro
  • Donations and funding for submarine monitoring in Banco Chinchorro
  • Financial consulting on how to create a community savings fund for marine conservation and sustainable fishing that would ensure long-term financial viability of the project
  • Volunteers with relevant knowledge, skills, or experience
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