About Dos Mares

Dos Mares was established in 2004 by Dr. Mike Marshall, Carlos A. Espinosa, Carlos Rivas LeClair and Jaime Incer Barquero with the aim of conducting marine research and conservation in Nicaragua. During the years 2004 to 2005, they created a digital map of seagrasses in the northern Caribbean using Landsat images (J. Rodríguez Rubí - 2007. Mapping of Seagrasses in the Caribbean of Nicaragua) . Additionally, in 2007, they organized a three-day training program for Nicaraguan government personnel conducted by Richard Pagett, focusing on the environmental impact of oil exploration and exploitation. Their work contributes to the protection and understanding of marine ecosystems in Nicaragua. Starting in July 2007, Espinosa and Marshall moved to the United States. In December 2012, Espinosa resumed the Dos Mares initiative, this time focused on Central America, with emphasis on supporting marine protected areas (MPAs), and in 2013 he formulated a first conceptual plan that he updated in 2014.

During 2013, Espinosa collected data and generated information about marine scientific activity in the Central American region with which he published two editions of the Dos Mares Science Matter newsletter, in May 2014 and June 2015 that show a panorama of marine scientific activity in the region. both editions are also available in English. Between 2014 and 2015, Dos Mares began its presence on the social networks Facebook and Twitter by posting educational posts and videos in both languages, an activity that is still ongoing. Some technical videos were also produced, such as: a satellite view of the MPAs and an application to view the MPAs . This application generated the interest of the Conservation Finance Alliance (CFA) in 2020, who suggested that perhaps the idea could be better raised by starting in a pilot protected area to lower investment costs. In order to have regional support, in 2015 the Ambassadors of the Sea group was formed on Facebook. Members of this group contributed with educational information on MPAs and announcements of diving services or seminars related to the sea. Starting in 2021, this group was reoriented to have field participation and generation of project ideas for MPAs, but this approach did not prosper due to Espinosa's time limitations to work with Dos Mares. This same year, Espinosa took the Marine Planning Advancement Training Course (MPA) with the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, North Carolina.

In 2017, the first map of MPAs was published using Google Map. Two years later, the ESRI tool was used to publish a story map to promote MPAs in English and Spanish: "You have a lot to live! … and the protected areas of Central America have a lot to live!"  In this same year, the first contact was made with Ocean Foundation requesting support from its "Fiscal Sponsorship" program for the project: "Project Portfolio for MPAs in Central America" and thus have a portfolio of projects emerged from the field through visits and interviews with the national authorities of protected areas. The project was not approved because it required prior approval from a donor, which was impossible because Dos Mares was not registered as a non-profit organization "501 (c) (3) nonprofit entity." This situation still persists in the year 2023 since Dos Mares does not yet have financial resources to carry out its legal incorporation in the United States.

In 2018, the MPA News magazine invited Dos Mares to publish an article about MPAs in Central America, for which three articles were prepared and published on this subject in this prestigious magazine: "The MPAs of Central America: An introductory view of their successes, lessons learned, and ongoing challenges (first of three articles)" ; "The MPAs of Central America (second of three articles): Challenges faced, including the emergence of well-financed criminal groups" and "The MPAs of Central America (last of three articles): Lessons learned from the past 20 years". In this same year, a short video was produced in order to disseminate the damage that has been done in the refugee of life Punta de Manabique on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala: "Agricultural Impact to Punta de Manabique" , followed by  a story map in English and Spanish about the same subject: "Towards the Future that is Wanted or the Paradise that is Lost? A Vision to Share. Punta de Manabique, Guatemala"  . Another story map in English and Spanish was also produced explaining the impact of the African palm in the Laguna de Los Micos and the National Park Jeanette Kawas in Honduras: "Laguna de los Micos, Honduras - A History Without a Future ?"

In 2018, the first database of potential donors for Dos Mares was also prepared, classified according to their availability to offer fiscal sponsorship (Fiscal Sponsorship). One option that has been considered is for Dos Mares to submit projects to potential donors who offer fiscal sponsorship and obtain financial support, initiate actions on the ground, and subsequently become legally incorporated. Efforts to obtain support through fundraising or "crowfunding" didn't work despite the fact that T-shirts were offered to those who cooperate. During 2018, two campaigns were planned: Meet In The Middle to form a group of business accelerator volunteers from anywhere in the world who could contribute to the legalization and operational expansion of Dos Mares, this campaign was not carried out due to time constraints, and the Let's Listen to the Sea campaign, which was carried out in order to generate a portfolio of projects based on the wishes of the citizens of each Central American country to conserve the sea, but it did not have the expected response, probably because its coverage by social networks it was not long enough due to financial constraints. Part of this last campaign used the story map: "Ahora Más Que Nunca Ellas Te Necesitan!"

In 2019, with the help of the Zoom platform, an online course was carried out: Increasing Sustainability in MPAs within the Framework of the Public Use Program, through which the importance of the programs of public use and value creation in protected areas and a Microsoft Excel tool was prepared to assess the status of public use programs. The course had a total of 14 participants, two from Guatemala, four from El Salvador, one from Honduras, six from Nicaragua and one person from Costa Rica. However, it was not possible for all participants to reach the end of the course, mainly due to the low speed and frequent loss of internet signal in those countries. 

In 2020, the document: “Creating VALUE in the Protected Areas of Central America” was published in Spanish and English with a video on the same topic also in Spanish and English. See the Publications section on this website to access this material. At the end of 2020, the reorganization of the local support group Ambassadors of Sea began, reorienting its activity towards the generation of projects, but the expected results were not obtained, mainly due to the difficulty of accessing local people interested in the subject. During the year 2021 and 2023, Dos Mares only carried out educational and information activities on its social networking sites. For 2024 and beyond, Dos Mares is analyzing the environment regarding the management of MPAs including the impact of NGOs and government activities, and in this way, define a strategy to approach operational actors to begin the transformation towards ACTIVE protected areas.