April 29, 2009

Reef Check Dominican Republic Awarded Grant

Story & Photos by Ruben Torres

Reef Check Dominican Republic (RCDR) has just been awarded USD$ 21,428.57 by the Programa de Pequeños Subsidios (PPS/FMAM/PNUD) to reestablish lobster populations inside La Caleta marine reserve. The project includes investing in artificial habitat and an educational campaign for fishermen to ensure long term success. Reduction of fishing pressure on coral reefs will be achieved by investing in artificial habitat where lobster can hide (artificial refuges) and transplanting lobster to non-reef areas. Shifting to a more sustainable fishing method will be achieved by conducting workshops on coral reefs, marine protected areas, and sustainable fishing, as well as marine biodiversity inside the marine park of La Caleta. To increase the lobster population inside the reserve and the direct benefit to adjacent fishing communities, RCDR will fortify the cooperative structure and establish a system of registration and catch control.

At La Caleta National Marine Park, RCDR works very closely with the government through the Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat through an agreement to manage the MPA more effectively. Workshops and meetings will be used to expose the community to modern concepts of the management of MPAs, and then define geographic limits for better control and regulation, along with better regulation of diving activities in the area. A monitoring program on reef health has been in place for two years with the goal of determining the effectiveness of the management actions that are being implemented.

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