By Margaret Southern
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Ten years ago, Anthony Ives was a high-profile stock trader living in San Francisco. He was a portfolio manager for all the internal equity money for the state of California—at one point managing 50 billion dollars. That was before the events of Sept. 11, 2001, set him on the path to where he is now: an equally hectic but completely different life in coastal Honduras.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, Ives decided he needed to be doing something more meaningful with his life. Within a year and a half, Ives found himself standing in the Tegucigalpa airport with the other, much younger Peace Corps volunteers. Speaking no Spanish and knowing all his friends back home thought he was crazy, Ives dove into work teaching computer classes and beginning his new life in La Ceiba, Honduras.
Four years later, Ives has found his home in Cayos Cochinos, a grouping of two small islands and 11 cays off the northern Honduran coast. With the support of advisers and other local organizations, Ives created Heart Ventures-Grupo de Apoyo al Desarollo (IHV-GAD), a group focused on implementing and integrating education, conservation and job creation.
“Through my relationship with the Cayos Cochinos Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, WWF, and the communities, I have come to understand more of how we should work together with nature,” Ives said. “It is so important to conserve the natural resources that are given to us.”
The Conservancy has been working closely with IHV-GAD and the Cayos Cochinos Foundation on a number of initiatives, including developing alternative sources of income for fisherman in order to help protect the reefs. In Cayos Cochinos, maintaining the health of the fish and reefs is crucial to ensuring the prosperity of future generations.
“Without the commitment from government, communities, and international organizations, local fisheries are continuously at risk,” Ives said. “Through partnerships with the Conservancy and others, the Cayos Cochinos Foundation and local communities have established a management plan that encourages no fishing zones, construction of artificial reefs that serve as nurseries for small fish, and the development of alternative sustainable sources of income.”
Ives hopes that over the next five years, they can continue to create sustainable enterprises in Cayos Cochinos, while always focusing on conservation and education.
“It is interesting because many organizations try to focus on one area, such as pure conservation, or micro enterprises. Through collaboration, it is possible to achieve many goals at the same time,” Ives said. “We have found that an integrated approach is much more sustainable, and we’re very happy that the Conservancy shares our long-term vision to sustainable conservation.”