Reef Check News


Reef Check Dominican Republic Partners with Fishermen to Protect Reefs


2008-02-21

Through the generous assistance of GCFI and UNEP-CAR/RCU and in partnership with Reef Check Dominican Republic (RCDR), four members of the fishers’ association of Juanillo-Punta Cana (APEJU) and a local Peace Corps volunteer will spend a week visiting fishing communities throughout the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. The fishers exchange will serve to validate and increase the leadership capacity of the APEJU fishermen, expose them to well-managed marine protected areas, and introduce them to alternative gear choices and sustainable fishing strategies.

APEJU exists in the popular international tourist destination Punta Cana on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic and was formed to protect the rights of fishers and ensure sustainable fishing. RCDR has partnered with area fishermen to help them preserve and protect their local reefs. Reef Check’s Coral Reef Monitoring Program offers a basic method of assessing reef health that the fishermen can carry out. Other strategies RCDR employs include encouraging alternative income sources and working with area stakeholders to develop a sustainable management plan. Toward that end, RCDR and the Peace Corps volunteer have been working with APEJU leaders to begin a reef monitoring program, address organizational challenges, and establish permanent protection of an area where APEJU currently limits fishing. The week-long exchange in Mexico, which includes visits to three different fishers’ associations and three marine protected areas will allow fishers to exchange ideas with other fishers who have been successful in changing their fishing methods, organization and how to work successfully in tourist areas.

For more information, contact RCDR at info@reefcheckdr.org