Protecting Nature's Hotspots for people and prosperity

New marine protected area created in northeastern Haiti

  Fishing boat in Caracol Bay, Haiti. © FoProBiM

The Haitian government announced the creation of the country’s second marine protected area (MPA) in December. Located in northeastern Haiti, the Three Bays Protected Area (Parc Marin des Trois Baies) is nearly 90,000 hectares and includes the bays of Limonade, Caracol and Ft. Liberté, as well as the Lagon aux Boeufs.

The newly established MPA will help protect the mangroves, eel grass beds, reefs and habitats housing important fisheries that are crucial for providing livelihoods to nearby communities. It will also help protect the area from storm surges and provide local communities with ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, tourism value and more. The MPA is also home to numerous threatened species, including sea turtles, whales, manatees and migratory birds.

Last August, the Haitian government designated the nation’s first mixed use (coastal/marine/terrestrial) protected area, at Ile-à-Vaches/Aquin in the southwest.

“We applaud the Haitian government’s move to protect our natural resources. This designation is yet another critical step forward as Haiti renews its commitment to protect its critical coastal and marine ecosystems,” said Jean Wiener, director of Fo​ndatio​n pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine​ (FoProBiM), Haiti’s only nongovernmental environmental organization focusing on coastal and marine areas.

  Two girls walk along the coast in Haiti. © Robin Moore

In 2000, FoProBiM outlined the original park boundaries; and undertook ecosystem valuation exercises for the area in 2009 and 2013 for the Organization of American States/Department of Sustainable Development (OAS/DSD). FoProBiM also actively participated in the preparation of the legal framework and final establishment of the present park boundaries to help bring about the MPA’s designation.

With support from CEPF through its investment in the Caribbean Islan​ds​ biodiversity hotspot​​​, FoProBiM is also working with local communities and authorities to design a participatory management plan for a locally managed marine area (LMMA) for the Lagons du Nord-Est Key Biodiversity Area.

​“We now need to undertake serious actions to ensure the complete commitment of local stakeholders to actively participate in the Three Bay Protected Area’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,” said Wiener. “We hope that the Arcadins, Baraderes and Rochelois Marine Parks will also soon be created to protect these vital ecosystems.”