Coral Reef Resilience Assessment of the Bonaire National Marine Park, Netherlands Antilles

Although Bonaire’s coral reefs remain among the healthiest and most resilient in the Caribbean, this IUCN report based on the IUCN Resilience Assessment of Coral Reefs highlights some of the threats that exist to Bonaire’s coral reefs, and which could have serious implications for resilience to future climate change and other threats. The report identi ed recommendations for addressing the current threats, as well as high and low resilience sites.

The threats and recommendations identified include:

Coastal development and artificial beaches.Recommendation: All coastal construction on Bonaire should be strictly regulated and follow the construction guidelines. The guidelines should become law in order to be enforced appropriately.

Leaching from septic tanks. Recommendation: It is strongly recommended that Bonaire invest in appropriate sewage treatment facilities to improve water quality and increase the resilience of its valuable coral reefs. It is also recommended that a water quality monitoring program be set up and sustained.

Increasing damsel sh populations. Recommendation: It is recommended that the shing of preda- tory sh species on Bonaire’s coral reefs be controlled and managed to a sustainable level to prevent population explosions of prey sh capable of modifying the reef habitat.

Trididemnum and Lobophora. Recommendation: It is recommended that the populations of Trididemnum and Lobophora are closely monitored and the factors contributing to the unnatural abundance of these coral-overgrowing organisms should be studied and then eliminated. 

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