ramsar

Bonaire National Marine Park Management Plan 2022-2028

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Bonaire National Marine Park was established in 1979. The marine park protects 2,700 hectares of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove forests. Seventy-five IUCN Red List critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable species, and 15 CITES Appendix I species, are recorded in the marine park. The marine park includes two Ramsar sites: Lac Bay (the largest semi-enclosed bay in the Dutch Caribbean) and Klein Bonaire (an uninhabited satellite island located approximately 700 m offshore). Bonaire’s coral reefs are considered some of the healthiest in the Caribbean.

The marine park forms the cornerstone of the island economy. Bonaire is consistently ranked in the top five diving destinations in the Caribbean. Year-round trade winds increasingly attract wind- and kitesurf enthusiasts. Nature-based tourism is the largest economic sector on the island accounting for over 38% of the economy and more than half of all jobs.

But success comes at a price. The pace of economic growth since the constitutional change in 2010 has been unprecedented. Rapid population growth and increasing number of tourists are driving land conversion and coastal development. The pressure on the Bonaire National Marine Park has never been greater, and the task of balancing economic development with nature conservation never more acute.

The management plan provides specific recommendations for the period 2022-2028, centered around six conservation strategies:

1. Optimize protection of key habitats and species.
2. Improve sustainable recreation.
3. Encourage sustainable fishing.
4. Control invasive species and disease.
5. Support restoration of key habitats and species.
6. Influence policy and legislation to improve park management.

This management plan was developed in close co-operation with local stakeholders. The plan is organized in eight chapters. This document also serves as the management plan for the Ramsar sites Lac Bay and Klein Bonaire.

Date
2022
Data type
Other resources
Theme
Governance
Education and outreach
Legislation
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Bonaire

Bonaire's Southern Wetlands Management Plan

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The southern wetlands of Bonaire represent a unique environment for the island. Consisting of a wide variety of habitat types including caves, karsts, dry tropical forests, coastal areas, salt pans and mangroves. The Ramsar site Pekelmeer lies completely in this area, as well as a small portion of the buffer zone of the Ramsar site Lac Bay.

Culturally, a number of Bonaire’s historic monuments and tributes to its past can be found as you drive around the perimeter, from ruins of old salt pans to the remains of slave huts and gravestones. Maintaining and respecting these sober reminders of Bonaire’s history is vital to ensuring the sacrifices of the enslaved populations are not forgotten. It would be impossible to separate the historic and cultural identity of Bonaire from this area.

Economically the southern wetlands represent commercial opportunities for salt extraction by Cargill Salt Works as well as a significant driver of tourism, whether it is history enthusiasts, cyclists, kiteboarders, recreational fishers, scuba divers or bird watchers.

The cultural and economic value of this area is only surpassed by its environmental value. The southern wetlands are recognized internationally as an Important Bird Area (IBA), as a site of regional importance by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, as an area important for sea turtle nesting and as a Ramsar site. The Ramsar site Pekelmeer, which encompasses most of the southern portion of the wetlands, is critical to a number of threatened, endangered or keystone species. Pekelmeer offers a much-needed rest stop for a number of migratory bird species while also serving as an important breeding ground for the Caribbean Flamingo and five different tern species. Furthermore, the southern wetlands constitute most of the natural habitat of the rare and endemic Bonaire Sabal Palm.

This management plan offers a description of the southern wetlands (chapter 1), a legal and legislative overview (chapter 2), a description of resources and utilities (chapter 3), an explanation of the spatial development plan (chapter 4), an overview of conservation target habitats (chapter 5), an analysis of threats and issues (chapter 6), an outline of management actions and strategies (chapter 7), and provides recommendations for the management plan evaluation and review (chapter 8). Conserving this unique wetland will be a major challenge. A critical first step is to designate Pekelmeer as a protected area under island and national legislation, and appoint a management authority.

Date
2022
Data type
Research report
Theme
Governance
Education and outreach
Legislation
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Bonaire

Conservation opportunities for tern species at two Ramsar sites on Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Abstract

The island of Bonaire is a nesting location for at least four tern species: a subspecies of the Least Tern (Sternula antillarum
antillarum), the Common Tern (Sterna hirundo), the Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus), and a subspecies of the Sandwich
Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis eurygnathus). The island is also a significant nesting site for the Caribbean Least Tern (Sternula
antillarum) population. Our main objectives were to: a) measure and compare breeding success at five known nesting sites on
northern Bonaire, b) document and compare the impact of natural and introduced predators on each site, and c) give management
recommendations for increasing breeding success based on our results. Our nest counts from 2014 indicate a significant
decline in nest abundance compared to historical observations from the 1950s, matching previous studies and observations
from the last two decades. Among the five nesting sites in our study, terns at the two island sites had the largest number of
breeding pairs and achieved the greatest success, fledging a maximum of ~0.8 chicks per nest, compared to all other sites which
were connected to the shoreline. We recorded rats and cats as predators at the peninsula site and field observations suggested
that predation by Laughing Gulls (Leucophaeus atricilla) might also be occurring at two sites. Both natural and artificial islands
on hypersaline lagoons provide good nesting sites for terns on Bonaire as they are protected from mammalian predators. However,
recreational disturbance remains the single most serious and pervasive threat to the future of seabird nesting on Bonaire
and requires concerted action. We propose a list of management actions to increase the numbers of nesting terns throughout
the sites studied. Increasing protection from predators and human disturbance by making artificial nesting islands will provide
the potential for Bonaire, and its sister islands, to become major refuges for southern Caribbean metapopulations of these four
tern species.

Date
2022
Data type
Scientific article
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Bonaire

RAMSAR soft law is not soft at all

Netherlands Crown Decision of 11 September 2007 in the case lodged by Competent Authority for the Island of Bonaire on the annulment of two of its decisions on the Lac wetland by the Governor of the Netherlands Antilles 

In 2006, the Competent Authority for the Island of Bonaire, one of the islands of the Netherlands Antilles (Dutch territory in the Caribbean) decided to allow for the construction of a resort totalling 44,150 square metres. Under "project Mangrove Village" in Sorobon, Bonaire, the privately owned company Crown Court Estate planned to construct 27 single units, 17 double units, a resort entry, and two gatekeeper buildings covering 10.995 square metres. Two decisions (the emphyteutic lease and the building permit) were annulled by the Governor in October 2006 and January 2007 respectively because of infringement of the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention), more specifically infringement of Article 3 of the Convention and the guidelines adopted in the Annex of Resolution VIII.9 (the duty to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment before granting a building permit). The Lac/Sorobon wetland was designated a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on 23 May 1980. The resort was not planned to be located within the boundaries of the Ramsar site, but (partly) inside the 500 meter buffer zone surrounding the Ramsar site.

Date
2008
Data type
Other resources
Theme
Legislation
Geographic location
Bonaire

Saliña Goto and reduced flamingo abundance since 2010 Ecological and ecotoxicological research

In 2010 a petrochemical fire took place at the BOPEC oil terminals on Bonaire. These facilities are located on the shores of the Goto lake, a legally protected RAMSAR wetland and important flamingo foraging area. Before the fire, daily flamingo counts averaged approximately 400 birds that used the area to feed on Artemia (brine shrimp) and Ephydra (brine fly larvae). Immediately after the fire, flamingo densities plummeted to nearly none and have not recovered. A large amount of fire retardants were used to combat the fire, and were hypothesised to be a potential cause for the flamingo declines. Our analyses of 15 years of baseline flamingo monitoring data show that rainfall does influence flamingo densities but only on the short-term and steering seasonal dynamics of flamingos. Therefore the rainfall event/change in the rainfall regime cannot account for lasting absence of flamingos. Nearby control lakes that were not affected by the fire showed no lasting reduction in flamingo densities, but instead an increase due to the birds no longer feeding in Goto.

In 2012, we measured the concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs, which includes PFOS) in Goto and control-lake waters and conducted additional chemical screening (fingerprinting) of sediments and biota. These measurements showed both lasting elevated levels of PFCs, in water, sediments and biota (fish) and lowered food-species concentrations in Goto as compared to control areas. Based on calculated Risk Quotients combined with the chronic exposure, for the documented PFOS levels, toxicological effects on benthic organisms such as Artemia and Ephydra are likely. Nevertheless additional impact by other associated retardant toxicant is also probable. Goto was found to be chemically different based on GC*GC chemical fingerprinting indicative of elevated Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) concentrations, a compound used in petrochemical industries as a solvent.

In conclusion, our results demonstrate a close link between the 2010 Bopec fires and the subsequent abandonment of the adjacent Goto lake by foraging flamingos. Compared to nearby control lakes, Goto was found to have elevated (and toxic) concentrations of PFCs and associated low food species concentrations. Therefore, our results suggest that the lasting abandonment of the lake by flamingos after the fire have been due to the drastically low food-species densities as likely caused by toxic ecosystem effects resulting from retardants released into the environment while combatting the fires. 

Date
2013
Data type
Research report
Theme
Research and monitoring
Report number
C211/13
Geographic location
Bonaire

RAMSAR sites of Aruba

Ramsar sites map of Aruba(GIS). Smoothed to 100m. 'The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, called the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.' See convention description for more details.

Date
2011
Data type
Maps and Charts
Theme
Research and monitoring
Document
Geographic location
Aruba
Author

RAMSAR map of Curacao

RAMSAR areas mapped for the Curacao ministry of  health, environment and nature with the help of K.Wenzel of the RAMSAR convention secretariat.

Please refer to the DOI when using this datasource: 10.5281/zenodo.1168484

Date
2012
Data type
Maps and Charts
Theme
Legislation
Document
Geographic location
Curacao

Ramsar sites map of Bonaire

Ramsar sites map of Bonaire (GIS). Smoothed to 100m. 'The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, called the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.' See convention description for more details.

 

Date
2011
Data type
Maps and Charts
Theme
Research and monitoring
Tags
Geographic location
Bonaire