Keep in Touch

Subscribe to stay up to date on Seacology’s events, trips, and projects.

  • Email Address
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Dominican Republic

San Lorenzo Bay


Conservation benefit: Conservation of 2,916-acre mangrove ecosystem for 15 years

Community benefit: Rebuilding of office and support for ecotourism and sustainable fisheries

Date Approved: 02.2023


This project supports a local conservation-based tourism initiative.


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

Los Haitises National Park is one of the crown jewels of the Dominican Republic’s park system. Los Haitises (“hilly land” in the indigenous Taino language), was a sacred place for its pre-Columbian inhabitants. Magnificent rock formations jut out of the water; there are extensive mangroves, tiny islands that are home to bird colonies, and caves with stunning petroglyphs and pictographs. Los Haitises also nurtures one of the DR’s few remaining rainforests.

Within the park, brackish San Lorenzo Bay is surrounded by all four of the DR’s mangrove species, including red mangroves, which tower to nearly 50 feet. The bay is rich in oysters and crustaceans, and it teems with bird life, including the endemic Hispaniolan hawk. The endangered Antillean manatee and locally endangered fish species are found in the bay.

The San Lorenzo Bay fishers’ cooperative, based in the community of Sánchez on the Samaná Peninsula, works on sustainable shrimp farming and fishing, sells environmentally friendly fishing gear, and conducts kayak tours through the mangroves. (They’ve gotten help from 2018 Seacology Prize recipient Patricia Lamelas’ organization, CEBSE.) The tours, which give visitors a rare view inside an intact and spectacular mangrove ecosystem, have been very popular. Guiding tourists also gives local people a way to earn a living without unsustainable fishing, and lets them monitor (with park staff) the mangrove area to prevent illegal fishing.

Last year, an electrical fire seriously damaged the coop’s office and storage space. The coop is using a Seacology grant to rebuild its valuable kayak tourism and to support an associated group of women who prepare and sell fish products.

Project Updates

June 2024

The new office and storage space will officially open in October, when Seacology staffer Karen Peterson will visit. In April, staff talked with cooperative representatives about moving from fishing to kayak ecotourism Advertising on social media has greatly boosted the volume of tourists using their services. A new website, will make their business even more visible.

Read more

February 2024

The fishers cooperative has built an office and garage, replacing the building that was destroyed by fire. They will inaugurate the new building in April, when Seacology staff visits. Members of the Galeras Fishermen’s Cooperative visited in October 2023, and members of the two groups discussed experiences and challenges.

Read more

July 2023

Site preparation for the cooperative’s office has begun. They have acquired the necessary permits and have received quotes for building materials. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-June. The kayaks that were saved from the 2022 fire at the co-op’s headquarters have been upgraded and improved. Even though it is currently the low season, they have started offering kayak excursions again, and the ecotourism operation is still popular and well-received.

Read more
- +