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1 . Honduras     Honduras
Honduras has a long mainland coast facing the Caribbean Sea but dominated by heavy riverine inputs and extensive mangrove communities. There are no recorded coastal coral reefs, although small, poorly developed coral communities are recorded from Puerto Cortes, La Ceiba and Trujillo. Important coral reefs occur around the Bay Islands (Utila, Roatán, Guanaja) and also the Cayos Cochinos which lie between Roatán and the mainland. Fringing and patch reefs also occur to the east associated with the Misquitia Cays and Banks, which are a continuation of the reef systems on the Nicaraguan shelf to the south. There are also reefs associated with the remote Swan Islands (Islas del Cisne) some 150 kilometers northeast of the mainland. These are three raised coralline islands which lie close to the edge of the Cayman Trench. They are surrounded by fringing reefs, with the most extensive reef development on their northern shores. The Bay Islands lie relatively close to the shore, but are also near to the deep water of the Cayman Trench, and are surrounded by well developed fringing reefs. The typical seaward profile of Roatán’s reefs is a gradation from terrestrial muds to coarse calcareous sand and seagrass beds (mainly Thalassia testudinum). Sparse corals and algae such as Turbinaria and Sargassum occur on a limestone pavement about 100-200 meters from shore, eventually merging into a spur and groove zone. Agaricia tenuifolia is the principal reef-building species in these shallow waters, though in higher energy areas Acropora palmata is more common. On the fore reef, at 10-15 meters, Montastrea annularis, Colpophyllia natans and Diploria spp. are very abundant, with live coral cover averaging 28 percent on the deep fore reef, but ranging between 24 and 53 percent in the Sandy Bay/West End Marine Reserve. The shelf edge is nearly vertical in many places and also has high coral cover, with species of Agaricia and colonies of Eusimilia fastigata growing to an unusually large size. In total, 44 species of coral have been recorded here, but a complete inventory of marine biodiversity is planned as part of a five-year natural resources management project for the Bay Islands. Relatively healthy until 1998, the Bay Islands reefs experienced extensive bleaching during the El Niño event and were damaged during Hurricane Mitch. The most pressing threats to reefs in Honduras are a projected increase in diving-related tourism and associated migration from the mainland. The Cayos Cochinos consist of two larger and 12 very small volcanic islands. The northern coasts of the larger islands are subject to high wave energies and are dominated by massive corals, while the southern shores, and the more protected shores of the smaller islands, have a greater diversity of corals, dominated by Agaricia. There are extensive seagrass beds. A number of fish stocks are considered to be overexploited, and there is a large prawn trawling industry. Tourism is a major industry in the Bay Islands, and present to a lesser extent in the Cayos Cochinos.

Efforts to protect the marine resources of the Bay Islands have been spearheaded by the local community and an unofficial marine reserve has been set up around the West End and Sandy Bay. There are several other marine protected areas, notably the Cayos Cochinos Biological Reserve, which covers the entire island and reef system of this area and is actively managed with support from the private sector.
Source: Spalding, M.D., C. Ravilious and E.P. Green , 2001 , World Atlas of Coral Reefs . Prepared at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. University of California Press,Berkeley,USA.421p. (See Document)

2 . Honduras     Honduras
While only small coral reef communities occur on the Caribbean coast of Honduras (Puerto Cortes, La Ceiba and Tujillo), there are well developed reefs on the outer Bay Islands (Utila, Morat, Barbareta, Roatàn, and Guanaja) and Cayos Cochinos. Well developed fringing and patch reefs are also found eastward (Misquitu Cays and Banks) and further northeast of the mainland (Swan Island). The edge of the Honduran continental shelf is almost vertical and has high coral cover.
Source: Wilkinson, C., Souter, D. (eds) , 2008 , Status of Caribbean Coral Reefs After Bleaching and Hurricanes in 2005 . Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, and Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Townsville, 152 p. (See Document)

3 . Honduras     Honduras
Socioeconomic impacts and management responses:
The Bay Islands’ reefs are the center for both tourism and fishing activities. Fringing reefs have been heavily exploited and the continued high demand for fish products has resulted in a relocation of fishing efforts to the more remote offshore reef banks. The Reefs at Risk project has estimated that 34% of Honduran reefs are threatened by anthropogenic stress, with the most pervasive being over-fishing (30%), coastal developments (25%), sedimentation from agricultural practices (10%) and marine based activities (6%). Enforcement of regulations aimed at protecting coral reefs and resource management is generally weak. Twelve MPAs have been developed, although a number of these are not legally declared or fully managed.
Source: Wilkinson, C., Souter, D. (eds) , 2008 , Status of Caribbean Coral Reefs After Bleaching and Hurricanes in 2005 . Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, and Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Townsville, 152 p. (See Document)

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