Management plan for the natural resources of the EEZ of the Dutch Caribbean

On the 10th of October 2010 the governmental entity known as the Netherlands Antilles is scheduled to cease to exist. Each island will aquire a new status within the kingdom. Following the declaration of an Exclusive Fishery Zone (EFZ) in 1993, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) has been declared in the Dutch Caribbean on the tenth of June 2010.

The EEZ area concerned, is a large expanse of sea which harbours exceptional biodiversity, and represents an important natural renewable resource potential. The Netherlands Antilles, Aruba and The Netherlands have, therefore, opted to draft a management plan for the EEZ. This initiative began in the year 2005 when the first conference regarding the management of the biodiversity in the EEZ was held. The consensus was that despite a fragmented Dutch Caribbean, the EEZ should always be integrally managed. In 2009 the participants of the second conference confirmed the need for common management and developed common goals, principles and a framework for the management of the Dutch Caribbean waters. Resulting from this conference a management plan was drafted, circulated to all stakeholders and discussed on the 1st of June 2010. Based on the input and feedback received, as well as subsequent correspondence, this final management plan was jointly developed.

The Dutch Ministery of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality (LNV) gave financial support to facilitate the process. This management plan initially stems from the framework policy plan “Natuurbeleid van de Nederlandse Antillen” (2000) that recognized the urgent need for a management plan for the Saba Bank, situated inside the EFZ waters, to ensure sustainable fisheries and protection of its rich biodiversity. It also closely follows the intention of the Kingdom with regards to the goals set forth in the Dutch biodiversity policy programme “Beleidsprogramma Biodiversiteit 2008-2011”. In this respect, as a party to the Convention on Biodiversity, The Netherlands also has a strong international commitment to help stem the global decline in biodiversity.

This management plan outlines the purposes and manner in which the Caribbean Exclusive Economic Zone and Saba Bank in particular may be used in a sustainable manner, based on a shared vision and common set of goals. It outlines the management objectives, as well as key policies, and strategies with which to achieve sustainable management. It also addresses the administrative structure, resource use, financial support, key information needs, and action points most urgently required to set sustainable management in place.

To set the stage for implementation and properly initiate this process governments of The Netherlands Antilles, Aruba and The Netherlands have, among others resolved to:

  1. take those steps needed to legally designate the Saba bank as a specially protected national marine area,
  2. take all steps necessary to legally designate the Dutch Caribbean EEZ as a Marine Mammal Sanctuary,
  3. install a EEZ Marine Resourses Committee to guide the process of further management implementation and
  4. allocate the required core funding.

These important intentions are formalized and set in action by means of an agreement between parties. 

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