Port Honduras Marine Reserve

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Chapter 3. SITE DESCRIPTION

f - Impacts and threats affecting the area

Impacts and threats within the area


Impact and threats level Evolution In the short term Evolution In the long term Species affected Habitats affected Description / comments
Exploitation of natural ressources: Fishing very important decrease unknown Groupers, snappers, sharks, lobster, conch, sea cucumber. Coral reefs, mud flats, seagrass beds, estuaries. The number of commercial fishers using PHMR has dropped from >300 in 2010 to <120 in 2014 due to the introduction of Managed Access. It is unclear to what extent this has reduced overall fishing effort. Illegal use of gill nets continues, with around 20 nets removed each year by rangers. The no-take/replenishment zones are presently small (3.2% of the MPA) but a proposal to expand these zones to 5.1% of the MPA is in process (2014). TIDE plans to proceed with further incremental, data-driven expansion of the replenishment zones.
Exploitation of natural ressources: Agriculture significant unknown unknown Coral reefs. Land based sources of pollution are a significant threat. The catchments of the six local rivers draining directly into PHMR possess >90% forest cover. Hence, they contribute relatively little pollution, although banana plantations and shrimp farms in the Monkey River / Placencia area do have an impact. The main sources of sediment and nutrient to PHMR and the Mesoamerican Reef System in general are the Ulua, Patuca and Motagua river catchments in Honduras and Guatemala. A pilot seaweed farming project was recently initiated in PHMR. Progress and environmental impacts will be monitored.
Exploitation of natural ressources: Tourism limited increase increase Tourism is currently not a major industry but is projected to grow significantly.
Exploitation of natural ressources: Industry significant unknown unknown There is potential for oil exploration in the near future. A company owning an oil exploration concession covering part of the MPA has applied to conduct an EIA for seismic testing and exploratory drilling.
Exploitation of natural ressources: Forest products limited unknown unknown N/A
Increased population significant increase increase Population growth in the Toledo District between 2000 and 2010 was 2.8% per annum. This is likely to cause increases in land-based sources of pollution, demand for marine products and entry of additional people into the fishing industry.
Invasive alien species significant increase increase Invasive lionfish are increasing exponentially since first being reported. They could have a significant impact on native species.
Pollution significant increase increase See comments above regarding agriculture. Furthermore, marine plastic trash is a significant problem. Again, the majority of this pollution comes from rivers in Guatemala and Honduras.
Other limited not specified not specified N/A

Impacts and threats around the area


Impact and threats Level Evolution In the short term Evolution In the long term Species affected Habitats affected Description / comments
Exploitation of natural ressources: Fishing very important unknown unknown Transboundary fishing occurs widely throughout the unpatroled marine areas around PHMR.
Exploitation of natural ressources: Agriculture very important increase increase There is a possibility that this threat will increase with the completion of a road to Guatemala in Toledo, opening up access to markets for agricultural products and potentially increasing immigration.
Exploitation of natural ressources: Tourism significant increase increase It is possible that large scale cruise ships may come to Toledo. In which case all tourism sectors would increase.
Exploitation of natural ressources: Industry significant unknown unknown Potential for oil exploration in the near future in and around PHMR.
Exploitation of natural ressources: Forest products limited unknown unknown Some logging occurs on private lands of the MMMC but a significant protion of the terrestrial area is protected.
Increased population very important increase increase Population growth in adjacent areas will increase fishing pressure and agricultural intensity in the watersheds.
Invasive alien species significant increase unknown Lionfish populations are greater on the barrier reef than in PHMR. The population is likely to increase in the near term.
Pollution limited increase unknown Toledo lacks a properly contained landfill. Leachate from a dump site near to Punta Gorda is likely impacting the Rio Grande, which drains into PHMR. The impact is likely to grow in the near-term until a proper land fill is created.
Other limited not specified not specified N/A