The Mesoamerican Reef System (MAR) encompasses the largest coral reef in the Atlantic, and is part of the interconnected system of coastal habitats and currents that extends throughout the Caribbean basin and beyond. Its coastline stretches for 1,000 kilometers from the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico to the Bay Islands in Honduras. It is home to some of the world’s most stunning coastline and vibrant waters, with an astonishing array over 500 known fish species, some of the largest remaining population of manatees and sea turtles, possibly the largest known aggregation of whale sharks, and valuable concentrations of mangroves, sea-grass, and coral, of which there are 66 species of spiny coral alone.

The MAR Fund is a regional environmental fund established to support conservation efforts specifically in the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) Ecoregion. Its mission is to drive regional funding and partnerships for the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of resources in the region.

The centerpiece of MAR Fund’s work is the establishment and strengthening of a functional network of priority coastal and marine protected areas in the MAR Region. In these areas, the MAR Fund supports and promotes: adaptation to climate change; conservation and restoration of natural resources and ecological processes; permanence of connectivity functions and ecosystem services; and sustainable use of resources. If managed properly, such a network will secure fish stocks, habitats, spawning sites, water/forest resources, and recreational and development opportunities for generations to come. Their work has secured new and additional funds to the initiatives in the eco-region, that has provided critical support to local, national and regional conservation efforts.

This TIE project will work directly with their Executive Director to help them structure a technical assistance facility to provide support –through grants– for the development and improvement of local blue sustainable market activities. The expected outcome are environmentally and socially sustainable businesses, and they need help to structure the facility and to develop fundraising strategies to ensure that the fund is able to work on its long term goal.