Saba Bank - Special Marine Area Management Plan 2008


A management plan was prepared in close consultation with a considerable number of stakeholders and stakeholder group representatives.

The plan specifies management goals and strategies for the Saba Bank Management Organization (SBMO) related to the organization mission. It also identifies the major existing and potential threats and issues facing the Bank from ecological, social and cultural perspectives and includes substantial input from stakeholders. It is designed to be an adaptive management tool.

Below is a very brief overview of the management plan

Part I: Saba Bank Background Information

  • Location and situation
  • Geology and geomorphology
  • Marine habitats, flora and fauna and natural resources
  • Human uses
  • Critical threats to the Saba Bank:
  • Overexploitation of fishery resources
  • Impacts from tanker anchorage on benthic communities
  • Impacts of tanker traffic on fishermen and traps
  • Global climate change

PART II: Management Environment

  • Vision: To secure a natural protected area that represents a unique and spectacular ecosystem; Mission: To contribute to the preservation of Saba’s natural heritage and promote the sustainable use of the natural resources; and Goals.
  • Governance
  • Human resources
  • Physical resources
  • Finance
  • Stakeholders

Summary of Issues (see below)

Management Recommendations (PART III: Management Environment)

Key issue: Create a clearly defined conch reserve on the Saba Bank.
Actions: Create and implement the queen conch reserve with no commercial take of conch. Research into queen conch stocks.

Key issue: Monitor the landings of commercial fish catches (there is currently very little data available on the yearly landings from the commercial fishermen of Saba).
Actions: Collect records of fishing activity on the Saba Bank. Develop a system to report landing from commercial fishermen. This dataset will lay the foundation for establishing a long-term commercial fisherman reporting system, which in turn will enable the SBMO to assess the state of the Saba Bank’s fish stocks.

Key issue: Enforcement of fisheries regulations (there is currently minimal enforcement of the fisheries regulations)
Actions: Collaboration; work with the Government, Harbour Office and Police to establish clear enforcement procedures and publicize the outcome. Encourage local fishermen to work with the police in the enforcement of the regulations. The SCF is in the process of having one of their rangers trained as a special agent.

Key issue: Monitor red hind spawning aggregation; assist in the development of a spawning aggregation closed season.
Actions: Gather initial information: determine where the majority of the fishermen are from and gauge trends in fish densities during the aggregations. Consult with stakeholders, including both the public and fishermen. Provide assistance in draft legislation for closing the spawning aggregation.

Key issue: Monitor tanker anchorage damage on the Saba Bank.
Actions: Monitor the impacts of anchoring. Prevent anchorage within the 12 miles of territorial waters. Provide whatever support is required for the Central Governments proposal to have the Bank recognized as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA).

Key issue: Evaluate the potential for artificial reef development on the Saba Bank.
Actions: Create and monitor an experimental artificial reef.

Key issue: Monitor and evaluate coral health.
Actions: Continue to monitor bleaching. Continue to monitor the state of the coral at existing sites established in 2007 on a regular basis. Adapt methods where appropriate. Co-ordinate with other islands. Communicate methods and results with St. Eustatius, St Maarten, and other DCNA islands, as well as the regional Global Coral Reef Monitoring Networkm (GCRMN) nodes.

Key issue: Facilitate and promote research from visiting scientists
Actions: Promote scientific research on the Bank (conferences, local, national media, and presentations). Provide assistance to researchers (providing logistic support and access to equipment)

Key issue: Work with the commercial fishermen in the management of the fisheries resource.
Actions: Promote the creation of a fisheries association among the fishermen as key stakeholders.

Key issue: Establish sustainable financing mechanisms
Actions: Raise money from fishing permits. Seek structural funding from the Dutch government under the new constitutional relationships.

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