Volume 62

The Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE): 12 Years of Experience in Enhancing Community Participation in the Establishment and Management of Protected Areas in Southern Belize

Foster, N,; Chan, S,; McLean-Dawson,R.
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Date: November, 2009

Pages: 282-287

Event: Proceedings of the Sixty -Second Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Cumaná

Country: Venezuela


The Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) was established in 1997, in Punta Gorda, Southern Belize, as a grassroots initiative in response to growing concerns over the slaughter of manatees, illegal fishing and degradation of the marine environment. Since its inception, TIDE has grown in strength, gaining both national and international recognition. An early success was the establishment of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve (PHMR) in January 2000 and a co-management agreement with the Fisheries Department. The management of PHMR has taken an ecosystem-based approach, relying heavily on the support and participation of community members. All PHMR staff are employed directly from stakeholder communities and in numerous cases they are ex-fishers of PHMR, converted to conservation through many of TIDE’s education and outreach campaigns. No Take Zones, covering 5% of the total reserve area, were established at the inception of the marine reserve and provide both a refuge to commercially important species, such as the spiny lobster and queen conch, and help to minimize human impacts on coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves. These ecosystems and populations are regularly monitored by TIDE with assistance from community researchers. Through continued education and outreach campaigns, such as the Community Stewards Program, TIDE has built up local support and guardianship for the marine reserve and through increased surveillance and patrols has provided protection to marine habitats and populations. Nevertheless, improvements can be made. During this presentation, we will highlight some of TIDE’s successes and discuss lessons learned and areas for improvement.

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