For marine biologist, Haitian gangs make work dangerous

A fisherman pulls his net back onto his boat in the waters surrounding Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Friday, March 11, 2022. A prize winning marine biologist is working to bring together fishermen from Haiti and the Dominican Republic and find a solution that will not only save their livelihoods but also vital marine resources in a region under extreme pressures from climate change. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

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A fisherman pulls his net back onto his boat in the waters surrounding Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Friday, March 11, 2022. A prize winning marine biologist is working to bring together fishermen from Haiti and the Dominican Republic and find a solution that will not only save their livelihoods but also vital marine resources in a region under extreme pressures from climate change. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Powerful gangs in Haiti are making it difficult for marine biologist Jean Wiener to do on-the-ground conservation work aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change

PEPILLO SALCEDO, Dominican Republic (AP) — In a blue bay that spans the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, fishermen from both countries recently aired grievances in a rare face-to-face meeting thanks to the efforts of marine biologist Jean Wiener.

The meeting, overseen by Dominican naval officers with rifles, was no small feat for Wiener, who has been forced to work on conserving this biologically sensitive region from afar — his house in Bethesda, Maryland — because of rampant violence in Haiti, his homeland. Now the prize-winning biologist stood in the steaming Caribbean heat at the mouth of an ominously named spot called the Massacre River, trying to bring together the two sides and find a solution that will not only save their livelihoods but also vital marine resources in a region under extreme pressures from climate change.

“The constant fishing, or overfishing, in these areas has decimated an entire ecosystem,” said Rodolfo Jimenez, director of an agricultural border project in the Dominican Republic.

The Haitian fishermen, standing across from Jimenez on the beach, agreed. But they also said they were not to blame for the damage in the Monte Cristi National Park in northwestern Dominican Republic.

Wiener's work has grown in significance over the years in large part because of charcoal vendors in Haiti who hack down trees for cooking fuel and, more recently, wade into the country’s mangroves, the tropical vegetation that is a natural barrier against the Caribbean’s increasingly destructive hurricanes. With ocean storms becoming more severe, Haiti’s coastline and its biodiversity are becoming even more vulnerable.

It was the first trip for Wiener, leader of Foundation for the Protection of Marine Biodiversity, since November 2021, his absence largely attributed to the violent gangs that have engulfed the Haitian capital in recent years and reached parts of the countryside. Nominally present already and undermined further with the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise in the bedroom of his home, the government has done little to wrest control from the brazen gangs.

For years, Wiener used to visit Haiti every month or so, but now restricts his trips to only a few times a year while being compelled to work remotely and delegate more responsibility to staff members dispersed throughout the country. Haiti is just too dangerous otherwise. So when he does come, as he did for three weeks in March, he hopscotches the country via puddle-jumper plane; travel by road is too perilous, with major thoroughfares blocked by gangs fond of extortion. Many passengers hide in their cars by lying on the backseat.

It’s a conundrum that bedevils Jean and others like him around the world. As climate change plays a greater role in contributing to conflicts, that in turns makes it more difficult to carry out scientific research and work on environmental projects that seek to offset the effects of climate change. The environmental group Global Witness released a report last year noting that 2020 saw a record number of environmental activists killed around the world; the death toll of 227 was the highest number recorded for a second consecutive year, with Colombia having the highest number of recorded attacks, with 65, and Mexico second, with 30.

“The extent to which failed states make it difficult for scientists and the international scientific community to work on these issues simply means it will be more difficult to solve these problems,” said Peter Gleick, president emeritus and a senior fellow with the Pacific Institute, an Oakland-based research group that focuses on water issues around the world.

Said Jessica Olcott Yllemo, senior fellow for climate security at the American Security Project, a nonpartisan group in Washington, D.C.: “If the temperatures continue to rise and you don’t have basic functions because you don’t have a functioning government, climate sort of just exacerbates all of those different threats and hazards.”

In several reports released in October, the U.S. signaled that climate change would occupy a central role in security strategy, a policy shift that underscores how climatic changes are exacerbating long-standing problems. One of the studies identified 11 countries that were of “greatest concern,” because they were especially vulnerable to climate change and unable to deal with the attendant problems. Haiti was among them.

The Caribbean nation has the highest travel advisory—”Level 4: Do Not Travel”—from the U.S. State Department due to kidnapping, crime and civil unrest. Kidnapping, the State Department says, “is widespread and victims regularly include U.S. citizens." In a March newsletter, the U.S. Embassy offered U.S. citizens in Haiti a tip sheet on ways to avoid being kidnapped.

The kidnappings have persisted for years, rising significantly after the 2017 departure of a U.N. peacekeeping mission. In October, 16 U.S. citizens, including five children, and one Canadian, were part of a group of missionaries who were abducted by the dreaded 400 Mawozo gang and held for ransom for two months. An untold number of Haitian Americans have also been kidnapped.

This past week, north of the Port-au-Prince capital, fighting between 400 Mawozo and a rival gang led to the displacement of thousands of people and the killing of at least 20, including six children. Officials warned that the main roads leading to Haiti’s northern region could be cut off as a result of the fighting, as has already happened to a thoroughfare heading south.

The March meeting Wiener set up was held at the beach of an estuary meant to be easy to reach for both parties, just a few steps on the Dominican side of the border. It was a Thursday morning, and a white mangrove provided shade to Wiener, the fishermen and their associations, a few environmental officials from the two countries and the Dominican naval officers. On the shore behind them stood a string of wooden posts used to hold seines for catching eels.

A big part of the two sides' discussion was over the exact location of the border above Hispaniola, the name of the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“The marine border is not completely north, it is northwest," Cmdr. Irving Cabrera, of the Dominican Navy, said in the meeting.

The meeting took place at the mouth of a river with a name that harkens back to a bloody episode on the island of Hispaniola: The Massacre River, also the Dajabón River. Though named for an earlier massacre, it’s mostly known for when Dominican soldiers, under the orders of dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1937, executed thousands of Haitian families and Dominicans of Haitian descent. The weapon of choice was a machete.

“I don’t think it was lost on either side of the border,” said Frederick Payton, of AgroFrontera, the Dominican environmental group that worked with Wiener to organize the March meeting. Payton also helped lead the meeting. “The Río Massacre kind of represents both the tension and the integration of the economies in the border region.”

The antipathy toward Haitians persists today, not least with Dominican President Luis Abinader’s newly launched plan to build a multimillion-dollar, 118-mile (190-kilometer) wall along the border. Construction has already begun.

Bereft of the usual tension, let alone animosity, the beach meeting lasted a few hours, with both sides able to voice their concerns as Payton and Wiener served as peacekeepers of sorts in the absence of a strong border state. Both stressed the importance of seeking solutions instead of dwelling on problems.

“We were trying to frame the meeting not just as a session to complain and to point fingers, but to try to look for some possible solutions that will take time,” Payton said. “But will give each side hope and expectation that something will be done in the future.”

Out of the meeting came the idea of creating a boat registration and a licensing for fisheries so Haitian and Dominican authorities know who is in the water and where they’re going.

Perhaps Wiener’s biggest achievement has been creating Haiti’s first protected marine areas, including the Three Bays National Park known for its mangrove forests, coral reefs and seagrass beds, but he concedes that his work has become more difficult working remotely. Josué Celiscar, field operations director for Wiener's foundation and a graduate student in agronomy, says the same, noting the inevitable delays that accompany projects.

“When you are the director, when you are present, you are executing the project,” Celiscar said. “When you aren’t there, you’re left with the assistant. It’s not going to be the same thing.”

In recent years, Wiener has seen the brother of his assistant director kidnapped and later released and spends considerable time making sure his staff is safe.

Born in Haiti, Wiener and his family fled the Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier regime when he was six months old for Queens, New York. He went back to Haiti at six while Duvalier's son and successor, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc,” was in power and left again for college, studying biology at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. Haiti came calling once more, and Wiener returned at 23 and, in 1992 started his foundation. Now 57, Wiener is a married father of two children, a boy and a girl.

In the end, the March trip to Haiti proved fortuitously uneventful—though danger wasn't far away.

When Wiener visited the southwestern part of the country, in the coastal town of Les Cayes, his driver got wind of protesters' plans to storm the local airport. The attack didn't happen until after Wiener flew out, a few days later: People ran onto the tarmac and torched a small plane owned by a U.S. missionary group. One person died and five others were injured, including four police officers, according to a police official working at the airport.

One day during his recent visit to northern Haiti, Wiener brought to the beach a group that included game wardens and university students with an interest in the environment. The idea was to get them in the water, make them feel comfortable and learn the basics of snorkeling.

Standing on the sand, Wiener gave a brief lesson on how to use a snorkel, explaining how to expel water from the breathing device. Minutes later they waded into the surf. A pufferfish floated toward them.

One man picked up the blowfish and studied it. Wiener told him to put the fish back in the water, which he did. Inflated like a ball as it bobbed supine, the puffer looked as if it were playing dead.

Wiener sloshed knee-high through the shore's lucent water, and gently picked up the prickly fish with both hands. He then walked a few steps out, toward the northern horizon, and sent the pufferfish into the ocean.

“We really know that there’s a part, you know, where you can be in a classroom," Wiener said later from the hotel, where a few security guards patrolled the grounds with rifles. “But it is critically important that people actually get out and touch and see and feel the environment.”

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Associated Press journalist Trenton Daniel reported from New York.

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Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP's climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Agronomist and horticulturalist Frederick Payton, right, and marine biologist Jean Wiener, left center, cross the Massacre River in order to attend a rare face-to-face meeting between fishermen from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, in Fort-Liberte, Haiti, Thursday, March 10, 2022. It was the first trip for Wiener, leader of Foundation for the Protection of Marine Biodiversity, since November 2021, his absence largely attributed to the violent gangs that have engulfed the Haitian capital in recent years and reached parts of the countryside. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Agronomist and horticulturalist Frederick Payton, right, and marine biologist Jean Wiener, left center, cross the Massacre River in order to attend a rare face-to-face meeting between fishermen from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, in Fort-Liberte, Haiti, Thursday, March 10, 2022. It was the first trip for Wiener, leader of Foundation for the Protection of Marine Biodiversity, since November 2021, his absence largely attributed to the violent gangs that have engulfed the Haitian capital in recent years and reached parts of the countryside.  (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Agronomist and horticulturalist Frederick Payton, right, and marine biologist Jean Wiener, left center, cross the Massacre River in order to attend a rare face-to-face meeting between fishermen from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, in Fort-Liberte, Haiti, Thursday, March 10, 2022. It was the first trip for Wiener, leader of Foundation for the Protection of Marine Biodiversity, since November 2021, his absence largely attributed to the violent gangs that have engulfed the Haitian capital in recent years and reached parts of the countryside. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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A man walks past abandoned boats along the shore of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. In several reports released in October, the U.S. signaled that climate change would occupy a central role in security strategy, a shift in strategy that underscores how climatic changes are exacerbating long-standing problems. One of the studies identified Haiti as one of 11 countries that were of “greatest concern.” (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

A man walks past abandoned boats along the shore of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. In several reports released in October, the U.S. signaled that climate change would occupy a central role in security strategy, a shift in strategy that underscores how climatic changes are exacerbating long-standing problems. One of the studies identified Haiti as one of 11 countries that were of “greatest concern.” (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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A man walks past abandoned boats along the shore of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. In several reports released in October, the U.S. signaled that climate change would occupy a central role in security strategy, a shift in strategy that underscores how climatic changes are exacerbating long-standing problems. One of the studies identified Haiti as one of 11 countries that were of “greatest concern.” (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Luckner Jean prepares a pile of wood in order to make charcoal, in Trou-du-Nord, Haiti, Friday, March 11, 2022. Charcoal vendors in Haiti hack down trees for cooking fuel. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Luckner Jean prepares a pile of wood in order to make charcoal, in Trou-du-Nord, Haiti, Friday, March 11, 2022. Charcoal vendors in Haiti hack down trees for cooking fuel. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Luckner Jean prepares a pile of wood in order to make charcoal, in Trou-du-Nord, Haiti, Friday, March 11, 2022. Charcoal vendors in Haiti hack down trees for cooking fuel. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Rosemene Hilaire lights charcoal to cook, at her home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 14, 2022. Nearly all the urban households in Haiti use charcoal to cook every meal. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Rosemene Hilaire lights charcoal to cook, at her home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 14, 2022. Nearly all the urban households in Haiti use charcoal to cook every meal. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Rosemene Hilaire lights charcoal to cook, at her home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 14, 2022. Nearly all the urban households in Haiti use charcoal to cook every meal. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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A worker rests at a charcoal market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 14, 2022. Even though propane can be a bit cheaper, nobody sees imported gas or other energy sources replacing charcoal anytime soon in Haiti because of cooking traditions and practical realities. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

A worker rests at a charcoal market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 14, 2022. Even though propane can be a bit cheaper, nobody sees imported gas or other energy sources replacing charcoal anytime soon in Haiti because of cooking traditions and practical realities. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

caption arrowCaption
A worker rests at a charcoal market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 14, 2022. Even though propane can be a bit cheaper, nobody sees imported gas or other energy sources replacing charcoal anytime soon in Haiti because of cooking traditions and practical realities. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Lindor St-Ville fills a bag with charcoal to sell at market, in Trou-du-Nord, Haiti, Saturday, March 12, 2022. While rural families burn firewood to cook their own meals, they will produce charcoal for sale to pay school fees and other expenses. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Lindor St-Ville fills a bag with charcoal to sell at market, in Trou-du-Nord, Haiti, Saturday, March 12, 2022. While rural families burn firewood to cook their own meals, they will produce charcoal for sale to pay school fees and other expenses. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

caption arrowCaption
Lindor St-Ville fills a bag with charcoal to sell at market, in Trou-du-Nord, Haiti, Saturday, March 12, 2022. While rural families burn firewood to cook their own meals, they will produce charcoal for sale to pay school fees and other expenses. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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A fisherman waits to pull in his net back onto his boat, in Caracol Bay alongside Three Bays National Park, in Cap Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. The roughly 80,000-hectare (19,700-acre) zone carved out of northern Haiti’s overfished Caracol, Limonade and Fort Liberte Bays includes as much as 20 percent of the country’s remaining mangroves, which are now illegal to chop down. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

A fisherman waits to pull in his net back onto his boat, in Caracol Bay alongside Three Bays National Park, in Cap Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. The roughly 80,000-hectare (19,700-acre) zone carved out of northern Haiti’s overfished Caracol, Limonade and Fort Liberte Bays includes as much as 20 percent of the country’s remaining mangroves, which are now illegal to chop down. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

caption arrowCaption
A fisherman waits to pull in his net back onto his boat, in Caracol Bay alongside Three Bays National Park, in Cap Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. The roughly 80,000-hectare (19,700-acre) zone carved out of northern Haiti’s overfished Caracol, Limonade and Fort Liberte Bays includes as much as 20 percent of the country’s remaining mangroves, which are now illegal to chop down. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Oxen stand on a dry patch of the Massacre River also known as the Dajabon River, in Fort-Liberte, Haiti, Thursday, March 10, 2022. Though named for an earlier massacre, it’s mostly known for when Dominican soldiers, under the orders of dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1937, executed thousands of Haitian families and Dominicans of Haitian descent. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Oxen stand on a dry patch of the Massacre River also known as the Dajabon River, in Fort-Liberte, Haiti, Thursday, March 10, 2022. Though named for an earlier massacre, it’s mostly known for when Dominican soldiers, under the orders of dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1937, executed thousands of Haitian families and Dominicans of Haitian descent. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

caption arrowCaption
Oxen stand on a dry patch of the Massacre River also known as the Dajabon River, in Fort-Liberte, Haiti, Thursday, March 10, 2022. Though named for an earlier massacre, it’s mostly known for when Dominican soldiers, under the orders of dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1937, executed thousands of Haitian families and Dominicans of Haitian descent. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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AgroFrontera Executive Director Frederick Payton, second right, speaks with marine biologist Jean Wiener, during a meeting between Haitian and Dominican Republic fishermen in Manzanillo, Dominican Republic, Thursday, March 10, 2022. The meeting, overseen by Dominican naval officers with rifles, was no small feat for Wiener, who has been forced to work on conserving this biologically sensitive region from afar — his house in Bethesda, Maryland — because of rampant violence in Haiti, his homeland. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

AgroFrontera Executive Director Frederick Payton, second right, speaks with marine biologist Jean Wiener, during a meeting between Haitian and Dominican Republic fishermen in Manzanillo, Dominican Republic, Thursday, March 10, 2022. The meeting, overseen by Dominican naval officers with rifles, was no small feat for Wiener, who has been forced to work on conserving this biologically sensitive region from afar — his house in Bethesda, Maryland — because of rampant violence in Haiti, his homeland. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

caption arrowCaption
AgroFrontera Executive Director Frederick Payton, second right, speaks with marine biologist Jean Wiener, during a meeting between Haitian and Dominican Republic fishermen in Manzanillo, Dominican Republic, Thursday, March 10, 2022. The meeting, overseen by Dominican naval officers with rifles, was no small feat for Wiener, who has been forced to work on conserving this biologically sensitive region from afar — his house in Bethesda, Maryland — because of rampant violence in Haiti, his homeland. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Fishermen hold a lobster caught after a day's work, in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Friday, March 11, 2022. A day earlier, in a nearby bay that spans the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, fishermen from both countries recently aired grievances in a rare face-to-face meeting. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Fishermen hold a lobster caught after a day's work, in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Friday, March 11, 2022. A day earlier, in a nearby bay that spans the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, fishermen from both countries recently aired grievances in a rare face-to-face meeting. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

caption arrowCaption
Fishermen hold a lobster caught after a day's work, in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Friday, March 11, 2022. A day earlier, in a nearby bay that spans the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, fishermen from both countries recently aired grievances in a rare face-to-face meeting. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

caption arrowCaption
Fishermen prepare to fish in the waters of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Friday, March 11, 2022. A day before, a meeting between Haitian and Dominican fishermen where they could air their grievances came the idea of creating a boat registration and a licensing for fisheries so Haitian and Dominican authorities know who is in the water and where they’re going. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Fishermen prepare to fish in the waters of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Friday, March 11, 2022.  A day before, a meeting between Haitian and Dominican fishermen where they could air their grievances came the idea of creating a boat registration and a licensing for fisheries so Haitian and Dominican authorities know who is in the water and where they’re going. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

caption arrowCaption
Fishermen prepare to fish in the waters of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Friday, March 11, 2022. A day before, a meeting between Haitian and Dominican fishermen where they could air their grievances came the idea of creating a boat registration and a licensing for fisheries so Haitian and Dominican authorities know who is in the water and where they’re going. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Ronald Pierre makes a handmade fishing net to sell to fellow fishermen, on the shore of Cap-Haitian, Haiti, Saturday, March 12, 2022. A prize winning marine biologist is working to bring together fishermen from Haiti and the Dominican Republic and find a solution that will not only save their livelihoods but also vital marine resources in a region under extreme pressures from climate change. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Ronald Pierre makes a handmade fishing net to sell to fellow fishermen, on the shore of Cap-Haitian, Haiti, Saturday, March 12, 2022. A prize winning marine biologist is working to bring together fishermen from Haiti and the Dominican Republic and find a solution that will not only save their livelihoods but also vital marine resources in a region under extreme pressures from climate change. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

caption arrowCaption
Ronald Pierre makes a handmade fishing net to sell to fellow fishermen, on the shore of Cap-Haitian, Haiti, Saturday, March 12, 2022. A prize winning marine biologist is working to bring together fishermen from Haiti and the Dominican Republic and find a solution that will not only save their livelihoods but also vital marine resources in a region under extreme pressures from climate change. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Litter and debris blanket the shoreline in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Thursday, March 10, 2022. In several reports released in October, the U.S. signaled that climate change would occupy a central role in security strategy, a shift in strategy that underscores how climatic changes are exacerbating long-standing problems. One of the studies identified Haiti as one of 11 countries that were of “greatest concern.” (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Litter and debris blanket the shoreline in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Thursday, March 10, 2022. In several reports released in October, the U.S. signaled that climate change would occupy a central role in security strategy, a shift in strategy that underscores how climatic changes are exacerbating long-standing problems. One of the studies identified Haiti as one of 11 countries that were of “greatest concern.” (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

caption arrowCaption
Litter and debris blanket the shoreline in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Thursday, March 10, 2022. In several reports released in October, the U.S. signaled that climate change would occupy a central role in security strategy, a shift in strategy that underscores how climatic changes are exacerbating long-standing problems. One of the studies identified Haiti as one of 11 countries that were of “greatest concern.” (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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FILE - A woman and child run past burning barricades during a demonstration against increasing violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 29, 2022. The protest coincides with the 35th anniversary of Haiti's 1987 Constitution and follows other protests and strikes in recent weeks in the middle of a spike in gang-related kidnappings. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph, File)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

FILE - A woman and child run past burning barricades during a demonstration against increasing violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 29, 2022. The protest coincides with the 35th anniversary of Haiti's 1987 Constitution and follows other protests and strikes in recent weeks in the middle of a spike in gang-related kidnappings. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph, File)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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FILE - A woman and child run past burning barricades during a demonstration against increasing violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 29, 2022. The protest coincides with the 35th anniversary of Haiti's 1987 Constitution and follows other protests and strikes in recent weeks in the middle of a spike in gang-related kidnappings. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph, File)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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FILE - Police carry the coffin that contain the remains of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moise at the start of the funeral at his family home in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, July 23, 2021. A squad of gunmen assassinated Moise and wounded his wife in an overnight raid on their Port-au-Prince home on July 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix, File)

Credit: Matias Delacroix

FILE - Police carry the coffin that contain the remains of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moise at the start of the funeral at his family home in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, July 23, 2021. A squad of gunmen assassinated Moise and wounded his wife in an overnight raid on their Port-au-Prince home on July 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix, File)

Credit: Matias Delacroix

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FILE - Police carry the coffin that contain the remains of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moise at the start of the funeral at his family home in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, July 23, 2021. A squad of gunmen assassinated Moise and wounded his wife in an overnight raid on their Port-au-Prince home on July 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix, File)

Credit: Matias Delacroix

Credit: Matias Delacroix

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FILE - G9 coalition gang members ride a motorcycle through the Wharf Jeremy street market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Oct. 6, 2021. While some gangs have turned to kidnapping, like those who captured 17 missionaries and their relatives, Jimmy Cherizier, aka Barbecue, a former policeman who leads the G9 gang coalition, has taken control of the port district, gaining a stranglehold on the country's economy. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

Credit: Rodrigo Abd

FILE - G9 coalition gang members ride a motorcycle through the Wharf Jeremy street market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Oct. 6, 2021. While some gangs have turned to kidnapping, like those who captured 17 missionaries and their relatives, Jimmy Cherizier, aka Barbecue, a former policeman who leads the G9 gang coalition, has taken control of the port district, gaining a stranglehold on the country's economy. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

Credit: Rodrigo Abd

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FILE - G9 coalition gang members ride a motorcycle through the Wharf Jeremy street market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Oct. 6, 2021. While some gangs have turned to kidnapping, like those who captured 17 missionaries and their relatives, Jimmy Cherizier, aka Barbecue, a former policeman who leads the G9 gang coalition, has taken control of the port district, gaining a stranglehold on the country's economy. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

Credit: Rodrigo Abd

Credit: Rodrigo Abd

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FILE - Demonstrators seize an airplane during a protest against insecurity and violence, at the airport in Les Cayes, Haiti, March 29, 2022. People ran onto the tarmac and torched a small plane owned by a U.S. missionary group. One person died and five others were injured, including four police officers, according to a police official working at the airport. (AP Photo/John Cadafy Noel, File)

Credit: John Cadafy Noel

FILE - Demonstrators seize an airplane during a protest against insecurity and violence, at the airport in Les Cayes, Haiti, March 29, 2022. People ran onto the tarmac and torched a small plane owned by a U.S. missionary group. One person died and five others were injured, including four police officers, according to a police official working at the airport. (AP Photo/John Cadafy Noel, File)

Credit: John Cadafy Noel

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FILE - Demonstrators seize an airplane during a protest against insecurity and violence, at the airport in Les Cayes, Haiti, March 29, 2022. People ran onto the tarmac and torched a small plane owned by a U.S. missionary group. One person died and five others were injured, including four police officers, according to a police official working at the airport. (AP Photo/John Cadafy Noel, File)

Credit: John Cadafy Noel

Credit: John Cadafy Noel

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FILE - A plane burns after being set on fire by demonstrators protesting increasing violence, at the airport in Les Cayes, Haiti, March 29, 2022. People ran onto the tarmac and torched a small plane owned by a U.S. missionary group. One person died and five others were injured, including four police officers, according to a police official working at the airport. (AP Photo/John Cadafy Noel, File)

Credit: John Cadafy Noel

FILE - A plane burns after being set on fire by demonstrators protesting increasing violence, at the airport in Les Cayes, Haiti, March 29, 2022. People ran onto the tarmac and torched a small plane owned by a U.S. missionary group. One person died and five others were injured, including four police officers, according to a police official working at the airport. (AP Photo/John Cadafy Noel, File)

Credit: John Cadafy Noel

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FILE - A plane burns after being set on fire by demonstrators protesting increasing violence, at the airport in Les Cayes, Haiti, March 29, 2022. People ran onto the tarmac and torched a small plane owned by a U.S. missionary group. One person died and five others were injured, including four police officers, according to a police official working at the airport. (AP Photo/John Cadafy Noel, File)

Credit: John Cadafy Noel

Credit: John Cadafy Noel

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FILE - A man holds his baby boy at a shelter for families displaced by gang violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dec. 9, 2021. More than 20,000 people fled their homes due to gang violence in 2021 according to UNICEF, with many living in temporary shelters amid extremely unsanitary conditions and the pandemic. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph, File)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

FILE - A man holds his baby boy at a shelter for families displaced by gang violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dec. 9, 2021. More than 20,000 people fled their homes due to gang violence in 2021 according to UNICEF, with many living in temporary shelters amid extremely unsanitary conditions and the pandemic. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph, File)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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FILE - A man holds his baby boy at a shelter for families displaced by gang violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dec. 9, 2021. More than 20,000 people fled their homes due to gang violence in 2021 according to UNICEF, with many living in temporary shelters amid extremely unsanitary conditions and the pandemic. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph, File)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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A student takes part in a guided snorkel lesson led by marine biologist Jean Wiener at Caracol Bay near Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

A student takes part in a guided snorkel lesson led by marine biologist Jean Wiener at Caracol Bay near Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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A student takes part in a guided snorkel lesson led by marine biologist Jean Wiener at Caracol Bay near Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Marine biologist Jean Wiener teaches the basics of snorkeling in Caracol Bay near Cap Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Wiener brought to the beach a group that included game wardens and university students with an interest in the environment. The idea was to get them in the water, make them feel comfortable and learn the basics of snorkeling. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Marine biologist Jean Wiener teaches the basics of snorkeling in Caracol Bay near Cap Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Wiener brought to the beach a group that included game wardens and university students with an interest in the environment. The idea was to get them in the water, make them feel comfortable and learn the basics of snorkeling. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Marine biologist Jean Wiener teaches the basics of snorkeling in Caracol Bay near Cap Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Wiener brought to the beach a group that included game wardens and university students with an interest in the environment. The idea was to get them in the water, make them feel comfortable and learn the basics of snorkeling. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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A fisherman holds a pufferfish caught floating nearby at Caracol Bay near Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. The sea creature is a longtime source of curiosity in Haiti owing to its unusually high toxicity. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

A fisherman holds a pufferfish caught floating nearby at Caracol Bay near Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. The sea creature is a longtime source of curiosity in Haiti owing to its unusually high toxicity. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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A fisherman holds a pufferfish caught floating nearby at Caracol Bay near Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. The sea creature is a longtime source of curiosity in Haiti owing to its unusually high toxicity. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Students cross Caracol Bay as they travel on a boat after receiving a snorkeling lesson from marine biologist Jean Wiener, near Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. “We really know that there’s a part, you know, where you can be in a classroom, but it is critically important that people actually get out and touch and see and feel the environment and see what they’re actually studying in the classroom,” Wiener said later from the hotel, where a few security guards patrolled the grounds with rifles. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Students cross Caracol Bay as they travel on a boat after receiving a snorkeling lesson from marine biologist Jean Wiener, near Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. “We really know that there’s a part, you know, where you can be in a classroom, but it is critically important that people actually get out and touch and see and feel the environment and see what they’re actually studying in the classroom,” Wiener said later from the hotel, where a few security guards patrolled the grounds with rifles. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

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Students cross Caracol Bay as they travel on a boat after receiving a snorkeling lesson from marine biologist Jean Wiener, near Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. “We really know that there’s a part, you know, where you can be in a classroom, but it is critically important that people actually get out and touch and see and feel the environment and see what they’re actually studying in the classroom,” Wiener said later from the hotel, where a few security guards patrolled the grounds with rifles. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Credit: Odelyn Joseph

Credit: Odelyn Joseph