by Jen Chapman, Country Coordinator, Belize
In August this year, I made my way up to Mexico to represent Blue Ventures at the Healthy Reefs Initiative (HRI) first annual regional partner meeting. With representatives from Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico, as well as invited experts from the USA, everyone was ready for a very productive few days.
Updating recommendations and indicators for the 2012 report on reef health and 2013 eco-audit were the main topics on the agenda (visit www.healthyreefs.org to download previous years’ reports). Break-out groups were tasked with different items; ours was sustainability in the private sector, focussing on the promotion of responsible seafood consumption and environmental stewardship in the tourist industry.
The days were filled with presentations and discussions that melded into evenings occupied by conversations with those names you read at the top of reports, but seldom meet. This ‘face-time’ was a major highlight of the meeting, allowing the exchange of ideas, experiences and advice with the key players in coral reef conservation for the entire Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System.
Contacts were made, partnerships were strengthened and all the meeting objectives were achieved. Many thanks to HRI for arranging such a successful meeting; we are now all looking forward to see the summary of findings in the 2012 report card!