Assessment of Coastal and Marine Resources along The Arcadins/La Gonâve and Limbé Watersheds in Haiti

The DEED project (Développement Economique pour un Environnement Durable) aims to promote economic development principally through commercial agriculture in the watershed zones of Montrouis and Limbé, within the framework of sustainable agricultural and natural resource management practice that will promote the stabilization and ecological recovery of the watersheds. The management of coastal and marine resources is included in the programs of activities for both watersheds.

The marine area between the southern tip of Isle de La Gonâve and the Arcadins coast between Arcahaie and Montrouis includes the three small Arcadins Islands. The marine and coastal zone is the habitat for several endangered species including marine turtles and manatees. There are also extensive areas of coral reefs—several parts of which are being mined and the coral exported. The zone continues to be overfished; fish stocks are dwindling, and the livelihoods of the fishers along the coast, particularly in Luly, are increasingly at risk. If the area is not put under a sustainable management regime, it will continue to be degraded, threatening not only the ecosystem and the livelihoods of the fishing communities, but also the potential for beach tourism and ecotourism on the Arcadins coast.

The coastal zone of the Limbé watershed, while perhaps not as immediately threatened as the Arcadins coast, is also under considerable anthropogenic pressure. Although the Limbé watershed has a much smaller coastal area, it receives important amounts of siltation from the effluent of the Limbé river and its tributaries. This sediment load is on the increase as deforestation and resulting top soil loss continue to go unmitigated. The Limbé coastal area has a number of coral formations that are being overfished and negatively impacted by increased siltation. Marine turtles frequent the coastal zone which also contains two important mangrove/wetland areas both of which are being harvested regardless of government interdictions to do so. This coastal area has the potential to draw tourists for wildlife viewing and for historical tours but in order to halt the unsustainable use of both fishery and mangrove resources it must be managed in a rational manner.

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