De Meyer, K.

Conservation species for the Dutch Caribbean (2020)

This list of species of conservation interest has been developed as part of a project 'Using management effectiveness to strengthen species conservation in the Caribbean' funded by SPAW-RAC. A first list was developed in 2005 as part of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance Management Success initiative. This updated conservation species list adds significantly to the original dataset and includes for the first time species which are protected by local legislation as well as updated lists of species protected by regional and international conventions.  It is intended to provide a greater understanding and to focus more attention on these 'special' species.

The list containes the following fields:

  • Name
  • Presence
  • ImportantBirdArea
  • IUCN class
  • CITES class
  • CMS class
  • Endemism
  • SPAW class
  • Named in local legislation
  • FLAGSHIP species
  • habitat

The list has been compiled using the following sources:

  • Nature & Environment Policy Plan Caribbean Netherlands 2020 -2030
  • Dutch Caribbean Species List developed for The Management Success Project (2015 update)
  • St Maarten Nature Policy Plan species 2020-2030, St Maarten updated flagship species 2020
  • Aruba Legislation: AB2017 no. 48
  • Curaçao legislation: Juli 1926 (P.B. No. 60)
  • CITES trade database
  • SPAW listed species
  • Red List species
  • Dutch Caribbean Species Register
  • Preliminary checklist of extant endemic species and subspecies of the windward Dutch Caribbean (St. Martin, St. Eustatius, Saba and the Saba Bank), Bakker, P.J.A. / Bos, O.G. / Henkens, R.j.H. / De Freitas, J.A. / Debrot, A.O.(2018)
  • Preliminary Checklist of Extant and Fossil Endemic Taxa of the ABC Islands, Leeward Antilles, CARMABI Foundation, Curaçao, Adolphe O. Debrot (2006)
  • Important bird Areas (IBA), BIrdLife International
  • Bonn Convention / Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)
  • Bon Berde, Quirijn Coolen
  • Wild Conscience, Fernando Simal
  • John De Freitas (CARMABI retired)
Data type
Other resources
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Saba bank
St. Eustatius
St. Maarten

Bonaire national marine park management plan 2006

The Bonaire National Marine Park was first established in 1979. It surrounds the island of Bonaire and includes the satellite island and the waters around Klein Bonaire. Bonaire lies in the Southern Caribbean approximately 100km (60 miles) north of Venezuela and 12’ north of the equator. Bonaire is unusual in that it is a true oceanic island, separated from the South American mainland by a deep water trench. Bonaire is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is regarded by the European Union as an Overseas Territory. The marine park falls entirely within the territorial waters and jurisdiction of the Island of Bonaire and is protected by the Marine Environment Ordinance (A.B 1991 Nr.8). The marine park was declared a National Park by the Central Government of the Netherlands Antilles in November 1999. For issues related to World Heritage, Ramsar wetlands, threatened and endangered species, migratory species and marine pollution the Central Government Department of Nature and the Environment (MINA) also has jurisdiction.

The marine park includes 2,700 hectares of coral reef, seagrass and mangrove ecosystems and provides habitat for a diverse range of marine species including over 50 species of stony coral and more than 350 species of reef fish. Sea turtles nest on the shores of Klein Bonaire and forage in Lac, a semi enclosed seagrass and mangrove bay located on the islands windward shore. Bottlenose and Spinner dolphin as well as various species of whale can be found seasonally in the seas around Bonaire. Bonaire is regularly visited by migratory birds.

Bonaire has a well deserved international reputation for excellence in the field of SCUBA diving and is routinely listed in the top five destinations for the Caribbean.

The Bonaire National Marine Park consists of the waters around Bonaire from the high water mark to the 200’ (60m) depth contour, the island of Klein Bonaire and its surrounding waters and the mangrove, seagrass and coral reefs of Lac. The park is managed by a local non governmental, not for profit foundation, STINAPA Bonaire which has a co-management structure with stakeholders, conservationists and local interest groups represented on the Board. The day to day management is carried out under the supervision of a Director but the Marine Park manager, Chief Ranger and Rangers employed by STINAPA Bonaire.

The marine park is managed predominately for biodiversity conservation, the promotion of sustainable use and for the protection of cultural and historical sites within the park with the aim of providing protection for the island’s unique marine resources whilst allowing appropriate recreational and commercial use to be made of the park.

This is the first management plan for the Bonaire National Marine Park. Rapid changes in management over the past six years have highlighted the need for a strategic document to guide management decision making and to better define the mission, goals and objective of the park. It is also a prerequisite for Bonaire’s World Heritage Site nomination and essential if the park is going to begin monitoring its own effectiveness.

This document has been prepared in close consultation with STINAPA Bonaire, their management and staff and a considerable number of stakeholders and stakeholder group representatives.

The plan specifies management goals and strategies for the Bonaire National Marine Park related to the park’s mission, which is to conserve and manage the natural, cultural and historical resources within the park, allowing their sustainable use for the benefit of current and future generations. It also identifies the major existing and potential threats and issues facing the park from ecological, social and cultural perspectives and includes substantial input from stakeholders. It is designed to be an adaptive management tool.

Data type
Other resources
Geographic location

Effects of Recreational Scuba Diving on Caribbean Coral and Fish Communities

Scuba diving on coral reefs is an increasingly lucrative element of tourism in the tropics, but divers can damage the reefs on which tourism depends. By studying the effects of diving we can determine what level of use is justifiable in balancing objectives of economic gain and conservation. Off the Caribbean island of Bonaire we compared coral and fish communities between undived reserves and environmentally similar dive sites where maximum use reached 6000 dives per site per year. At these levels of diving, direct physical damage to reefs was relatively minor. There were more loose fragments of living coral in dive sites than reserves and more abraded coral in high- than low-use areas. Diving had no significant effect on reef fish communities. Between 1991 and 1994, diving intensity increased 70% and coral cover declined in two of three dive sites and in all three reserves, suggesting a background stress unrelated to tourism. There was a significant decline in the proportion of old colonies of massive coral species within dive sites (19.2% loss), compared to a smaller loss in reserves (6.7%). Branching corals increased by 8.2% in dive sites, compared with 2.2% in reserves. Despite close management of reefs, diving is changing the character of Bonaire's reefs by allowing branching corals to increase at the expense of large, massive colonies. The impact of background stresses on massive corals seems to have been greater in the presence of diving. Other studies have linked disease infection to coral tissue damage, and the higher rates of abrasion we recorded in dived sites could have rendered corals there more susceptible to disease, thus mediating the decline of massive corals. Our study shows that even relatively low levels of diving can have pronounced effects manifested in shifts in dominance patterns rather than loss of overall coral cover. Bonaire's reefs have among the highest coral cover and greatest representation of ancient coral colonies of reefs anywhere in the Caribbean. Conserving the character of these reefs may require tighter controls on diving intensity.

Data type
Scientific article
Research and monitoring
Geographic location