COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

OVERVIEW

RMP seeks to offer alternatives to fishers and community members that offset their dependence on the extraction of marine resources for their income and livelihoods. For example, the RMP launched two programs Protect our Pride (POP) and the The Corozal Association of Apicultural Producers , which tackle alternative livelihood needs through dive tourism (POP) and apiculture (The Corozal Association of Apicultural Producers ). With its innovative approaches to alternative livelihoods, RMP is offering a unique opportunity to local communities that take pressure off of Roatan's natural resources.

Our most successful community development project supports the local community of Corozal through the production and sale of honey products.  Through funds from KFW via MARfund, RMP was able to create an alternative livelihood which does not depend on illegal fishing practices or increase pressure on the reef and our natural resources. This project funds the local production of honey, equipment, building structures and training required. The initial round of products included local plain honey, honey with honeycomb and an innovative medicinal honey which includes eucalyptus and peppermint which is fantastic for treating cold and flu symptoms. The second round of products includes shampoo, conditioner and other naturally made, locally produced products. Be sure to check out these products at our EcoStore in Half Moon Bay! 

We know that the future of conservation is through education and community engagement we created this program which offers dive courses to community members of the Jose Santos Guardiola municipality. Our Protect Our Pride East Side program offers dive courses up to Dive Master. By encouraging locals to have an appreciation for their natural resources we can further pass on our conservation messages to the greater community of Roatan and visiting tourists. This program concentrates on a younger generation, many of whom may never have even seen the reef or explored their local natural resources. This program has a community service component and includes beach and mangrove clean ups and other community projects. 

There is a global recycling crisis, being on an island doesn’t make it any easier. People tend to think that by throwing something away, it goes away. When really there is no “away”. Recycling here on Roatan is a manual process done by people who search through the trash looking for aluminium cans and PET 1 plastic bottles which they can sell for a very small amount of money. The Roatan Marine Park started the very first recycle program which entails the construction of recycle bins from confiscated fishing net and wood.

Our community outreach also focuses on promoting the Bay Islands Sustainable Sea Food Guide at local restaurants and hotels.  There is a certain rules to follow to make sure we are consuming fish sustainably. Examples of this are not to purchase lobster under the size of 5.5 inches as this ensures they are at an age where they would have had time to reproduce. Do not support the restaurants who sell lobster under this size.

Inclusion of local perspectives into mangrove rehabilitation projects is essential if the management and restoration efforts are to be successful. We lead mangrove replantation projects with local students and international visiting groups. Coastal development is detrimental to the reef without attention to mangrove ecosystem restoration and the participation of local communities will mainly determine the future of mangrove ecosystems benefitting livelihoods of coastal human populations worldwide.