The health of Haiti’s coral reefs are under serious threat from a variety of stressors.
Unregulated fishing, land-based pollution and climate change are the main drivers of marine biodiversity loss on Haitian coral reefs. These biodiversity-threatening factors are widespread throughout the Caribbean, but are in many cases, more severe in Haiti due to the lack of socio-political resources available.
Essential coral ‘architect’ species such as Staghorn and Elkhorn coral, which were once abundant on Caribbean reefs including Haiti, have rapidly declined by up to 90% in some regions. In addition to depleted commercial fisheries, this decline has been rapidly destroying coral reef systems as a whole in Haiti, with little chance of organic regeneration to a climax community. Hence, the long-term livelihoods of local communities and marine biodiversity is under crisis in Haiti, and action must be taken now to restore these valuable environments for future generations.
Unsustainable fishing gear and methods lead to the local fisheries being over-exploitation around Amiga Island.
Lack of basic regulations (ie. no seasons, catch size or bag limits) leads to a ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ with each fisher taking whatever they can find.
Over-reliance on fishing combined with lack of economic opportunity has resulted in near-collapse of reef services, the fisheries are simply being pushed too hard.
Plastic pollution doesn’t just look bad, it causes serious harm. Plastics can entangle and suffocate corals or be eaten by marine life such as fish and turtles disrupting the entire system.
Excess run off – the waters which flow into the ocean can bring with them dirt that smothers the reef or pathogens which can induce disease causing real problems for coral reefs.
Oils and chemicals such as that from car engines, boat motors or harmful sunscreen additives like Oxybenzone can have major effects on reefs from stress to inhibiting reproduction!
Rising sea surface temperatures, are pushing corals past their thermal limits. These heightened temperatures are responsible for massive coral bleaching events.
Ocean acidification is no joke – we’ve made the ocean 30% more acidic since the industrial revolution. This makes it more difficult for corals and shell-making animals to create their own skeletons!
The frequency of major weather events is expected to increase with the increase of CO2 in our atmosphere. Hurricanes and changes in rain patterns can impact reefs in a major way, sometimes shattering reefs completely.