An integral part of the Maya Mountain Marine Corridor, the PHMR encompasses an array of vital habitats, with inshore, patch and fringing reefs, seagrass beds and 138 mangrove cayes, supporting an important fishery for local traditional users.
Here in PHMR, we are protecting numerous species threatened with extinction in other areas of the world, such as the West Indian manatee, great hammerhead shark, hawksbill, green and loggerhead turtles and goliath grouper. In fact, the coastal mangroves between Deep River and Punta Ycacos are thought to be one of only three major nursery grounds for the goliath grouper remaining in the world.
Situated in close proximity to the Mesoamerican Reef Complex, the second longest contiguous reef in the world, PHMR plays a vital role in protecting the biodiversity and integrity of this complex and beautiful system by providing critical nursery habitat for reef fish.
The reserve is divided into three distinct use zones:
1% Preservation Zone – Where no person is permitted entry unless for pre-approved, non-extractive research purposes
4% Replenishment Zone – Where non-extractive recreational activities are permitted
95% General Use Zone – Where commercial, subsistence and recreational fishing are permitted, within the limits of the Managed Access program.
In addition, the use of long-lines, gill nets and beach traps is prohibited throughout the reserve. A team of TIDE rangers based at the newly refurbished ranger station at Abalone Caye carries out enforcement throughout the reserve.
TIDE introduced Managed Access Fisheries in July 2011 in response to increasing fishing pressure on a decreasing resource base. Whilst still in its infancy, the program is already showing signs of great success.