PROJECT SUMMARY

The project is the creation of a marine mammal sighting network in Haiti.  The purpose is to assess the whale and dolphin populations along Haiti's southern inner coast, so we can learn about their migration patterns and behaviors.  This is important because there has been no formal research done on the marine mammals of Haiti.  This will create interest in the marine science community and bring income to the youth and fishermen and an economy of whale and dolphin watching.

ISSUE

Haiti is an island nation with a valuable resource (the ocean) that is not being valued.  The waters of Haiti are inhabited by marine mammals that are the public and researchers travel around the world to see and study, including the sperm whale, dwarf sperm whale, pantropical spotted dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, pilot whale, beaked whale, humpback whale and rough-toothed dolphin.  These marine mammals are important for ecotourism and they are not being utilized.  Marine mammals in Haiti face some threats and that needs to be addressed, such as pollution, marine debris and invasive species.

SOLUTION

The sighting network will provide four solutions that will benefit all involved.  The first solution will be building a relationship between fishermen and youth in Haiti, so they can work together as a team.  This will be achieved through initial meetings and and weekly communication between both fishermen and youth.  The second solution will be to bring additional income to the fishermen and youth in Haiti.  This will be achieved by paying fishermen and youth for developing the network.  Also, by bringing marine biologists to Haiti to pay fishermen and youth to research marine mammals and by establishing whale and dolphin watching as a business.  A third solution will be building a database of migration and behavior patterns of whales and dolphins in Haiti.  This will be achieved by having fishermen and youth take photos and videos of marine mammals and to have the youth put photos and videos in folders in computers.  Also, they would create a spreadsheet of info.  A final way this will be achieved is to get interest from the international science community in Haiti’s marine mammal populations.  We would invite marine mammal experts to visit Haiti and get invited to attend marine mammal workshops and produce research papers for publication.

OUTCOMES

To promote a sighting network that brings income to fishermen and youth in a timely manner.  To have a realistic system in place with a specific goal of getting information about the marine mammals and bringing opportunities to the fishermen and youth.  To have a measurable goal of potential income from ecotourism through the development of the marine mammal sighting network.
We want to reach the Haitian fishing community and the local youth, who can benefit from this marine mammal sighting network.  I also want to reach the stakeholders like the environmental groups and marine biologists who can help us get additional funding for this as well as provide their expertise with the species.  We also want to reach the Haitian government, so we can get laws in place to protect the marine mammals.

BUDGET

TYPE OF EXPENSE COST
52 digital waterproof cameras & 26 laptops $10,000
Funding for youth/fishermen and incentives $  5,000
500 marine mammal laminated ID guides $  2,000
Projector and movie screen $  3,000
TOTAL COST $20,000

 



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