On March 10th, International Mesoamerican Reef Day, the Healthy Reefs Initiative launched the 2016 Mesoamerican Eco-Audit – an analysis that evaluates the region’s collective efforts toward protecting and sustainably managing the coral reefs and documents the extent to which recommended management actions have been implemented in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and México. To celebrate Mesoamerican Reef Day 2016, the Healthy Reefs Initiative recognizes the efforts, progress, and dedication of our partners throughout the region in our collective progress in protecting this valuable resource. Together, we are committed to working to implement priority management actions still needed to safeguard our reefs for future generations. Overall, we are making improvements, but we can accelerate the pace of implementation even further to better improve and enhance the Mesoamerican Reefs long term health.
What is an Eco-Audit?
The Eco-Audit is a systematic and transparent evaluation of the degree of implementation of 28 recommended reef management actions, grouped into seven general themes: Marine Protected Area, Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management, Coastal Zone Management, Sanitation and Sewage Treatment, Research, Education and Awareness, Sustainability in the Private Sector, and Global Issues. The purpose of the 2016 Eco-Audit is to catalyze faster, more effective management responses and to increase accountability within the public and private sectors, and among non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This 2016 Eco-Audit is our third evaluation, enabling us to consider trends and rates of implementation in addition to the comparative scores for implementation by each country
What is the Overall Score for the Mesoamerican Region?
The overall 2016 score for the Mesoamerican region was 62%, which is an improvement in the implementation of recommended management actions compared to 54% in 2011 and 57% in 2014. The highest scoring management theme was Research, Education and Awareness (88%); the lowest scoring was Sanitation and Sewage Treatment (47%). Improvements were measured in every theme except sewage and sanitation.
Three of the 28 indicators have been fully implemented including: Indicator (1a) Percent of each country’s maritime are inside MPAs, with the MAR protecting >20% of its territorial sea was achieved in 2014; (5a) standardized monitoring and reporting was fully implemented, due to regular regional assessments and the openly available online database, and (5c) Understandable information on reef condition, threats and values, available to the general public and stakeholders.