St Maarten Marine Park Management Plan 2007

The St Maarten Marine Park was first established in 1997. It surrounds the Dutch side of St Martin
from the average high water mark to a depth of 20m on the east coast and a depth of 30m on
the south coast. St Martin lies in the North Eastern Caribbean (63º N, 18º W) within the Lesser
Antilles island group. St Maarten is situated upon the Anguilla Bank, a geological formation
including Anguilla and St Barthélemy. The island is the smallest island in the world to be shared
between to sovereign states – French St Martin to the North and Dutch Sint Maarten to the South.
St Maarten 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
St Maarten and is expected to be protected by a Marine Park Ordinance by early 2007. For issues
related to international treaties, threatened and endangered species, migratory species and
marine pollution the Central Government Department of Nature and the Environment (MINA) also
has jurisdiction.
The marine environment of St Maarten includes more than 15km2 of globally threatened coral
reef as well as seagrass and mangrove ecosystems. St Maarten’s marine environment is a home,
migratory stop over or breeding site for 3 IUCN Red List Species, 10 CITES Appendix I species
and 89 Appendix II species. The beaches and waters attract in the region of 2 million visitors a
year, creating employment for 85% of the islands population. Tourism and the marine industry
contribute $500 million and $30 million to the economy respectively and both depend on the well
being of St Maarten’s marine resources.
The Marine Park is managed by a local non-profit, non-governmental organisation called Nature
Foundation St Maarten which has a co-management structure with stakeholders, conservationists
and other interested parties on the board. The management of the marine park is carried out by
the Marine Park Manager and the marine park ranger. An office manager also works on the
marine park administration and organisation and an education and outreach officer is shared with
the nearby Dutch Islands of Saba and St Eustatius.
The mission of the marine park is to manage, conserve and restore St. Maarten’s marine natural,
cultural and historical resources for education, ecological functionality and sustainable use with
continued stakeholder participation, for the benefit of current and future generations.
This is the first management plan for the St Maarten Marine Park. Recent changes in
management and staff members 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.
Management planning and a clear strategy for management is a prerequisite if the park is going
to begin monitoring its own effectiveness.
This document has been prepared in close consultation with Nature Foundation St Maarten, their
management and staff and a considerable number of stakeholders and stakeholder group
representatives. The plan specifies management goals and strategies for the St Maarten Marine
Park related to the park’s mission and goals. It also identifies the major existing and potential
threats and issues facing the park from ecological, social and cultural perspectives. It is also
designed to provide a framework for adaptive management.
Retrieved from on April 13, 2015

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