On Wednesday August 7th, 2013 Haiti’s Council of Ministers announced the creation of the “Protected Area of Natural Resources Management of Port Salut/Aquin (Aire Protégée de Ressources Naturelles Gérées de Port Salut/Aquin)” located in southwestern Haiti. It is composed of five zoned sites enclosed within an area covering a total of close to 150,000 hectares and includes mixed marine and terrestrial sites.
“We once again applaud the Haitian government’s move to protect our natural resources. This designation is another critical step forward as Haiti renews its commitment to protect the environment, especially in light of President Martelly’s designation of 2013 as The Year of the Environment for Haiti,” stated Jean Wiener, Director of the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FoProBiM) in Haiti. “However, the designation is the easy part, now comes the hard part. We must ensure an increased engagement of the local communities, national stakeholders, the government, and our international partners to actively participate in the protection and sustainable management of the resources within this important area. We are also looking towards the designation of Marine Protected Areas in the very near future.”
FoProBiM undertook the outlining of the original park boundaries in 2000, the initial survey of coastal and marine resources within the area in 2008, and actively participated in the preparation of the legal framework and present park boundaries to help bring about this important designation.
Hopefully the Caracol/Ft. Liberté area will also soon be created. This area was surveyed by FoProBiM for an Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) project funded by the government of Chile through the Organization of the American States/Department of Sustainable Development (OAS/DSD) in 2009 in order to determine the value of ecosystem services in the area.