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Dominican Republic

La Playita


Conservation benefit: Conservation of six acres of seagrass and five acres of mangrove forest for 15 years

Community benefit: Mangrove restoration; conservation training for fishers; mooring buoys to protect seagrass; seagrass awareness; Play for the Mangroves and other youth activities

Date Approved: 06.2022


This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.


This project protects seagrass, which traps more CO2 than any other marine ecosystem, slowing global warming.

The white sands of La Playita are a major tourist attraction. In the seagrass off the beach, there are conch and other mollusks, crustaceans, and an abundance of fish. Manatees and the occasional leatherback turtle swim by. In the forest area, there are endemic Hispaniolan slider turtles, mangrove crabs, and a variety of native and migratory birds. All four of the DR’s mangroves species are found in the forest, which is threatened by invasive species and human activities.

Most residents of nearby Las Galeras (population 6,000) depend on fishing, tourism, or both for their livelihoods. Healthy seagrass supports both. Seagrass meadows are a nursery for fish, reduce the destructive impact of Atlantic waves, and keep the water clear, making the beach attractive to tourists. Local organization Foro Ambiental de Samaná, our project partner in nearby El Astillero, has been engaging local fishers and others community members. It reminds people that one fish, alive in a healthy habitat, brings 20 times more benefits to the community than a dead one.

This project will protect these ecological riches in many different ways. To promote sustainable fishing:

  • Fishers will form a cooperative to foster good fishing practices, and will monitor the area.
  • Mooring buoys to anchor fishing and tourist boats will be installed to protect the seagrass.

Other activities, publicized through social and other media, are aimed at the public, primarily children and youth:

  • Children, adolescents, and young adults will create murals with a seagrass and mangrove theme, under the guidance of a professional painter.
  • Local people will learn about the ecological importance of seagrass and mangroves.
  • Our project partner will rehabilitate the mangrove area and create an inviting outdoor classroom for local youth and tourists.
  • Kids will take part in “Play for the Mangroves” activities, getting sports equipment and environmental education.

Project Updates

June 2024

This project has helped to cultivate  a deep sense of pride and collective responsibility for the marine environment. Fishers and key community members are participating in habitat restoration, beach cleanups, and educational programs. New sustainable fishing methods will reduce damage to the marine ecosystem and strengthen the fishers’ livelihoods. The fishing community and other stakeholders will also restore and effectively manage the seagrass meadows and mangrove fragment at La Playita.

Read more

February 2024

Authorities responsible for the site’s management have codified regulations regarding moorings, demarcation buoys, and signs. CODEPESCA, the fisheries arm of the Ministry of the Environment, will manage the site with the Galeras Fishermen’s Cooperative.

The Galeras cooperative took part in a knowledge exchange with the cooperative of Sanchez, whose work we have supported through the San Lorenzo Bay project.

Remaining funds will be spent on painting murals depicting marine ecosystems at a children’s library and school. Signs and information panels will be installed at La Playita to show the zoning for the beach, seagrass, and mangrove areas.

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July 2023

After delays due to Hurricane Fiona, this project is off to a good start. There is strong participation by CODOPESCA, the governmental entity responsible for promoting sustainable fishing. Fishers have held workshops on how vital mangroves and seagrass are to fish and other marine species. In coordination with the National Mangrove Awareness Campaign, awareness-raising events have been held in the local schools. A survey of the species that live in and around the mangrove patch was carried out, as well as cleanup days with local youth. A Seacology group visited the project in April.

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February 2023

In January 2023, a total of 443 students and 31 adults attended seven workshops held in collaboration with the national ManglarES initiative. Participants learned about the importance of mangrove ecosystems and conservation. They also got a chance to understand the Seacology-funded project in their community.

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October 2022

Seacology’s Karen Peterson and Kevin Claassen visited the project as part of a larger visit to the country to check on the progress of the national initiative. They met with the newly formed fishing cooperative for the signing of the conservation agreement, officially committing the group to stewardship of the area’s ecosystems. Read more about the trip here.

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