Building capacities in coral reef restoration in the Bay Islands National Marine Park of Honduras

Zara Betsabe Guifarro Castro

Caribbean corals have been going through their own pandemic in recent years, threats such as water pollution, overfishing, diseases such as Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, lack of awareness and governance have caused a devastating impact to their populations. Young people play a critical role in conservation as they can encourage their peers and community to engage in conservation activities. Our project seeks to increase ocean awareness in young adults and train them in different coral restoration techniques, involving them in the validation of the coral spawning calendar for Honduras. These future young leaders will gain different skills through the Ocean Youth Program. This programme will allow them to participate hands-on in the conservation of the marine resources of the Bay Islands National Marine Park, and with their help we will collect data that decision makers and stakeholders will use to enforce effective management strategies. This project also seeks to conduct the first assisted reproduction in the country using the coral spawning calendar and train stakeholder members so they can replicate this technique in other islands within the Marine Protected Area (MPA). These conservation activities will increase the reproductive rate of corals and provide a coral spawning calendar that will be used to upscale coral restoration efforts and increase coral resilience while giving valuable information to the decision makers of the MPA.