Haiti is home to an incredibly diverse array of marine life, housed in mangrove forests and coastal reefs. It is also the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80 percent of the population living in poverty. Natural disasters and political instability have further hampered the nation’s ability to create meaningful economic opportunities for its citizens.
Driven by extreme poverty, many Haitians have resorted to overfishing. Fish stocks have been further decimated as locals cut down mangrove trees—key habitat for young fish—to illegally make and sell charcoal. Others have turned to harvesting coral reefs, which also provide protection and shelter for fish, for construction material such as rocks and lime. The deforestation of coastal mangroves brings more cause for alarm: The trees are known to sequester carbon at a rate five times greater than tropical rainforests and protect coastlines from storm surges, making their destruction a further threat to the future of an island nation already vulnerable to climate change. Earlier in 2011, survey results by Reef Check, a non-profit organization focused on improving reef health worldwide, showed that Haiti's coral reefs are the most overfished in the world. 
However, despite the political instability, progress has been made to protect Haiti's marine environment. Two marine protected areas have been created in the last two years: the "Protected Area of Natural Resources Management of Port Salut/Aquin" located in Southwestern Haiti back in August 2013 and the most recent MPA "The Three Bays Protected Area" located in Northeastern Haiti in December 2013.
The key player for the drive in creating the MPAs is the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Biodiversity (FoProBiM). Founded by Jean Wiener in 1992, FoProBiM is Haiti’s only coastal and marine environmental organization. It is an apolitical, non-governmental, non-profit organization founded and headquartered in Haiti and was officially recognized by the Haitian government in 1995.  Through Jean Wiener's efforts, he was recently awarded the Islands and Island Nations 2015 Goldman Prize. 
Jean Wiener with staff at the FoProBiM headquarters (Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize)