Playa Florida is a coastal village in the south of Cuba adjacent to one of the most delicate and rich marine eco-systems in the Caribbean. This area is also one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and the local communities have had to evacuate during storms (such as Ike and Paloma in 2008).
The loss of the mangroves poses a risk to the local population by shortening the shoreline, increasing erosion and their vulnerability to floods, surges and storms. In terms of biodiversity, the damage to the mangrove ecosystem also reduces water quality and destroys the natural habitat of fish and crustacean species.
In 2009, with the support of the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) and the technical advice from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, the community of Playa Florida set out to restore the coastal and mangrove ecosystem in Playa Florida. To achieve this goal the community started an awareness raising campaign on the importance of the mangrove ecosystem for the health of marine resources and as an adaptation tool to address climate change. The community also worked with fisher folk to improve their fishing practices and livelihood opportunities and reduce the pressure on the ecosystem. The project also provided better fishing gear and training on sustainable fishing practices such as the use of wider fishing nets to reduce bycatch, promoting compliance and respect for fishing bans, and developing sustainable fishing plans. The project also worked with fisher folk to create a union that would enable them to get better prices.
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