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San Carlos Island


Conservation benefit: Protection and enhancement of 136 coastal marine acres; composting; outreach on endangered turtle protection

Community benefit: Water collection and storage systems for 30 families


Date Approved: 06.2024


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


This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

San Carlos Island sits off the southern coast of Honduras, in a region of mangroves and wetlands that are home to abundant wildlife. The critically endangered hawksbill turtle nests here, and there is a huge variety of birds, including pelicans, ibises, frigatebirds, parakeets, bitterns, and many more.

This hot, dry region is a tough place for people, though. Electricity and fresh water are scarce. San Carlos Island has no health center, and after sixth grade, children must leave the island for school. Most of the island’s 430 inhabitants eke out a living from artisanal fishing, subsistence agriculture, and a bit of community tourism.

Of these, fishing is the most important. San Carlos Island is within the Gulf of Fonseca Archipelago Marine National Park and is surrounded by 136 acres where only artisanal fishing is permitted. But industrial and agricultural runoff, sedimentation from deforestation, mangrove cutting, shrimp farming, illegal fishing, and warming water have damaged the area’s mangrove forests and the fish that depend on them.

To help restore the mangrove ecosystems, the fishermen of San Carlos Island will install 25 artificial reef domes, which shelter juvenile fish, in the protected area. This will also reduce pressure on nearby fishing areas. Fishermen from the community will patrol the area and report illegal fishing.

Our project partner, a local NGO called CODDEFFAGOLF, pioneered the use of these structures in the Gulf of Fonseca and has deep connections with the island communities. Seacology works with them on a coastal conservation project on nearby islands.

They will work with community members on protecting turtle nesting beaches, using sustainable fishing practices, conserving resident and migratory birds, and using organic fertilizer. They will install compost bins and develop a solid waste management plan with local officials. They will also buy rainwater collection and storage tanks for 30 families.

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