Recreational and land use survey for Lac Bay Bonaire: A study towards mapping human activities in Lac Bay Bonaire and its catchment area and advising about the current management system.


The main conclusion from this study is that at the moment tourists and locals use Lac Bay and its catchment area at levels and in ways that are not sustainable.

Recreational use:

  • Recreational use is concentrated on and around the Sorobon Peninsula. The major activities are beach and sports-related (sunbathing and windsurfing). The main water based activities are windsurfing and swimming/wading.
  • The social carrying capacity for the present kind of visitor and present kind of usage begins to become an issue around 250 beach visitors. Average visitor numbers on cruise days is 359 (highest is 760) and on weekends is 260.
  • There is a large difference in visitor numbers between cruise days and non- cruise days, with cruise days having the highest.
  • Awareness of Lac Bay’s regulations and zoning plan is low, resulting in certain activities taking place in sensitive zones.

Land use:

  • Fresh water surface-flow to the bay is affected by approximately 54 dams or more, and groundwater flow by many (uncounted) wells
  • 213 kunukus (farms on Bonaire) are present in Lac Bay and its catchment area.

Livestock densities within the natural areas surrounding Lac Bay are not sustainable. They exceed the ecological carrying capacity of the area.

Management Recommendations

- Develop and implement a set of measures that can be used to preserve and enhance the Lac visitor experience in accordance with social carrying capacity.

- Develop sunbathing and water sport possibilities elsewhere on Bonaire to distribute user densities from Lac Bay.

- Develop and implement a set of measures that can be used to preserve and enhance the natural values of Lac Bay.

  • Improve the implementation of the zoning plan.
  • Organize several facilities at Sorobon more properly.
  • Create a visitor centre at Sorobon.
  • Reduce livestock densities in the Lac Bay catchment area.

Key recommendations for further study:

  • Research on up to what extend tourists facilities are contributing to the eutrophication at Lac.
  • Research on the effect of sunscreen on coral bleaching at Lac.
  • Further research to obtain a clear overview of land use in Lac’s catchment area.

Back to search results