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Versión Español | January 2014


Haiti Creates New Marine Protected Area

Picture: Haitian Fisherman. OASIn December 2013, the government of Haiti announced the creation of “The Three Bays Protected Area (Parc Marin des Trois Baies)” the country’s second Marine Protected Area (MPA). The government’s decision is largely based on a recent study supported by the OAS-SEDI Department of Sustainable Development which worked with its local partner in Haiti - the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FoProBiM) - in the definition of the present park boundaries and the drafting of the legal framework required to create the protected area.    

The study was undertaken as part of the OAS ReefFix project, which works with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to restore and effectively manage coastal resources through the use and development of cost-effective techniques and economic validation of ecosystems, which have played a critical role in the implementation of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in the Caribbean.

Image: Google EarthThe protection of this new area that encloses nearly 90,000 hectares (900 sq.km.) and includes the bays of Limonade, Caracol, Ft. Liberté, Lagon aux and Boeufs located in Northeastern Haiti, recognizes the priority given by Haiti and other Caribbean Countries to preserve marine areas. This is good news for conservation efforts worldwide, considering that the Caribbean contains some of the world’s richest marine biodiversity, harboring 10% of the world’s coral reefs, 1,400 species of fish and marine mammals, and tens of thousands of hectares of mangrove forests. Furthermore, with 70% of the population living along the coast, Caribbean lives and livelihoods directly depend upon healthy marine and coastal resources, which are increasingly threatened by development, pollution, overfishing and climate change. (Reefix - Haiti Case Study, OAS-FoProBiM, 2013)  

Although the establishment of the new marine protected area (MPA) is an important milestone towards Haiti’s marine sustainability, its effectiveness depends on future compliance with the legislation. The Reefs at Risk Project found that only 6% of the 258 existing MPAs in the Caribbean are rated as “effectively managed” and 13% as having “partially effective management”. Considering this challenge, Jean Wiener, Director of the FoProBiM, Haiti cautioned that “we now need to undertake serious actions to ensure the complete commitment of local stakeholders to actively participate in the Park’s management. We must also ensure an increased engagement of all national stakeholders, the government, and our international partners to actively participate in the protection and sustainable management of the resources within this important area.”  

Richard Huber, the OAS’s biodiversity expert notes that “given the long road ahead towards effective conservation, ReefFix will continue to be a partner in preserving and managing marine areas and other natural resources as a fundamental element for current and future development”.  

 Currently in its second phase, ReefFix is supported by the government of Mexico - through its Permanent Mission of Mexico to the OAS and the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) – and the  Government of Monaco. Its first phase was supported by the government of Chile.   

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