Caribbean Harvest uses the low volume-high density fish cage culture method developed at Auburn University in the 80's (SCHMITTOU, 1998). First, Caribbean Harvest seeks partners to provide the initial capital investment for cages, fingerlings and feed. Each farmer receives two cages which are four cubic meters each, 2,400 two-inch fingerlings red hybrid tilapia per cage and 100 bags of 32% protein commercial fish diet. The cages are made of PVC coated galvanized wire mesh. Each beneficiary farmer grows the fish for four months or until they average 400 grams. Second, Caribbean Harvest buys back the fish from the farmers, processes and distributes them to supermarkets, hotels and restaurants in Haiti. The average fish production per cage per year is 1200 kg and the average yearly income per farmer per cage is ,200 which represents a 300% increase in their income.
From September 1st to December 30th 2010, Caribbean Harvest will seek financial resources and gather materials for construction of the cages. At the end of 2011, Caribbean Harvest plans to install 340 new cages for 170 families. Fish production at the end of 2011 should reach 408,000 kg. By the end of 2012, Caribbean Harvest hopes to install 360 additional cages (reaching a total of 700 cages) for a total annual production of 840,000 kg (1,848,000 lbs) of fish available for local consumption. The commitment calls for the construction of a processing plant that will create an additional 60 new jobs. Fish will be used for hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and school lunch programs. By-products from the processing plant will be used to make animal feed and improve animal husbandry in Haiti.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Official unemployment rate is estimated at 33% (IHSI 2008) and about 70.2% of the population lives below the poverty line of less than two dollars per day (UNDP, 2008). Haiti has one of the lowest fish consumption rates in the world - 7lbs per person per year while the world averages 35 lbs (FAO, 2008). This commitment seeks to increase fish availability, create new jobs in the fishing industry and raise the income of 350 small fish farmers. Caribbean Harvest, along with its partners, provides cage materials, feed, fingerlings and training to farmers who in turn raise the fish to market size.
Caribbean Harvest also provides marketing opportunities to the beneficiaries and ensures sustainability of the program by using 60% of the income generated by fish sales for the following production cycle.
Caribbean Harvest is looking for new partners, especially in the area of capacity building. Our program is growing faster than our management staff. Although new financial resources will help Caribbean Harvest reach its goal faster, the organization believes it could achieve more with stronger media support.