As you know, CREOLE, Inc. supports a variety of agricultural projects in Haiti including terracing, large scale gardening, and coffee production. Now you can add tilapia to the mix. We'll let Daniel Lister, one of our partners, fill you in on this project.
In January of 2015 my wife, Jesse, and I, along with her parents Ron and Dawn Barnes, made a trip down to Northern Haiti to research the viability of starting an aquaculture project with CREOLE, Inc. Ron owns and operates a fish hatchery in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and has consulted with other organizations regarding aquaculture before. We couldn’t wait to get him to Haiti.
Our main goal on this trip was to listen to any ideas and/or needs that arose from conversations with people from a few different communities, observe the status of some current fish farming projects, and to identify some locations where we could do a potential start up. As the trip came to a close, we concluded that by sharing our gifts and talents with our friends in Haiti, we could maybe help out in a few different ways.
Our plan had three major benefits: 1) produce food for local communities, 2) provide employment and a source of income, and 3) help to restore reefs and offshore fisheries by relieving some of the fishing pressures placed on the environment.
It was on that same trip we met Junior, an Agricultural Technician with a desire to pursue aquaculture in northern Haiti. He gathered some other interested individuals, and eventually we had a team ready to start working.
In May of 2016, Ron and I returned to Haiti to further develop a plan with these guys. Junior arranged for us to use the ponds at Riviere Salee, and we researched what other equipment we would need to make this dream a reality.
Finally, after a few road bumps with our documentation, and some flight scheduling conflicts, we were able to bring a shipment of about 2,000 fingerling Tilapia into Haiti this past Tuesday, May 2nd. It is truly a miracle that after 48+ hours of travel, unpacking and re-oxygenating in Florida, and multiple flights, all the babies except ONE made it into the ponds alive and well.
In the weeks and months to come, we look forward to monitoring the growth of the fish, the first official harvest, and helping Junior and his team start their own hatchery.