sustainable tourism

An analysis of SCUBA Lionfish Hunter Specialty courses: How does the involvement of the scuba dive tourism industry support the conservation objectives of the Bonaire National Marine Park?

MSc internship report

Within scientific literature, many have expressed the potential of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles) to ecologically harm marine ecosystems. Ever since the invasive lionfish was introduced to the Atlantic Ocean and into the Caribbean Sea, it continues to spread out, now reaching the waters surrounding Brazil and beyond. As the introduction of the invasive species into these waters is a relatively new problem, so are the management strategies aimed to combat this problem. It is therefore important to undertake analyses as time goes on and this dynamic changes. In the case of Bonaire, the PADI Distinctive Lionfish Hunter Specialty course was created to generate more volunteers for the purpose of including tourists to become part of Stichting Nationale Parken (STINAPA) Bonaire’s lionfish management and control strategy. This thesis sought to investigate the nature of engaging in a Lionfish Hunter Specialty course and its intended and unintended consequences in relation to the conservational objectives of the Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP).

Using a practice-based approach, this thesis demonstrated how engaging in a Lionfish Hunter Specialty course is carried out, and how it evolves over space and time. Using qualitative research techniques that included desk research, field observations and nineteen semi-structured in-depth interviews, an attempt was made to map out the social practice. Zooming-in on the practice provided further detailed descriptions on the enabling factors that support it, and via the zooming-out technique, I was led to further describe the practice-arrangement bundles, which displayed how the practice is embedded in a global network of interconnected practices. Deeper analyses concerning these global interconnected practices have been omitted for they go beyond the scope of this research.

Based on the results, it is concluded that engagement in the specialty course did generate an increase in volunteers, with the vast majority of participants involving tourists. One goal of STINAPA was to increase volunteers to assist in overfishing the lionfish to control lionfish density. Further, engagement in the practice involved the dive centres that generated profit to local dive instructors. Moreover, a consumption campaign was launched that created a high demand for lionfish fillet in restaurants, resulting in further profits for divers and restaurants. According to respondents the majority of the lionfish catches are attributed to the resident lionfish hunters opposed to the tourists. The added value of including tourists in the lionfish management and control plan is mainly for commercial reasons, education and raising awareness. The two most frequently mentioned downsides of engagement in the specialty course, are firstly inadequate use of the modified speargun (called the ELF, or ‘’Eliminate Lionfish’’ tool) as well as inexperienced divers hanging on to coral reef, structures, or lying on the seabed, resulting in reef damage. And second, failing to successfully target the lionfish by which it adapts its behaviour and becomes wary of divers.

Date
2022
Data type
Research report
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Bonaire

Grant from the European Union to enhance nature protection and sustainable tourism

Nederlands and Papiamentu below.

Lac Bay is a unique tourism hot spot which boasts a wide array of habitats from fringing coral reefs to expansive seagrass meadows to the largest mangrove forest in the Dutch Caribbean.  This area is the setting for a number of new activities to restore critical marine habitats under a project implemented by the Stichting Nationale Parken Bonaire (STINAPA Bonaire) with funding from RESEMBID of €792,480.

The agreement to fund the project was signed by STINAPA Bonaire and the Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme (RESEMBID) on Monday 13th June 2022.

RESEMBID is funded by the European Union and implemented by Expertise France – the development cooperation agency of the Government of France. It supports sustainable human development efforts in 12 Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) – Aruba, Anguilla, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Montserrat, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Saint Barthélemy, Sint Maarten and Turks and Caicos.

“Lac Bay is a critically important ecosystem. It is a refuge for migratory birds, functions as a nursery for fish and turtles, and is a major tourist attraction on the island,” said Judith Raming, the Manager of the Bonaire National Marine Park. Under the Project the institutional capacity of the Park’s staff will be strengthened. “With the support of RESEMBID, our marine park rangers will be able to better enforce environmental legislation. Our team is looking forward to working towards a more sustainable future for Lac!” said Raming.

The project titled ‘‘Realizing a Blue Economy on Bonaire: Restoring Marine Biodiversity and Promoting Sustainable Recreation in Lac Bay” has five main goals: to restore critical marine habitats, to promote sustainable recreation, to enforce environmental regulations, to monitor water quality, and to ensure sustainable financing.

Photo source: Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire

“We are very excited to collaborate with STINAPA on this important large-scale project, including a variety of integrated restoration activities for the unique and complex Lac habitat” said Francesca Virdis, Chief Operations Officer of the Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire. “Communication and stakeholders’ engagement will be key to succeed and ultimately ensure that nature and community will both benefit in the long term.”

Fabian Mckinnon, Programme Director at RESEMBID said, “It is almost serendipitous that RESEMBID’s agreement with STINAPA was finalized mere days after this year’s World Oceans Day, the theme of which was Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean. The work that STINAPA will undertake to restore these critical marine habitats is a phenomenal example of this collective action. RESEMBID is truly thrilled to both finance this work and give the technical support that will ensure this is a sustainable project to benefit the people of Bonaire for years to come”

Initiated by Commissioners James Kroon, Hennyson Thielman and Governor Rijna, the project presents a number of exciting opportunities to improve the health and resilience of Lac Bay, as well as encouraging sustainable recreation. The project includes seagrass and coral restoration, improved marine park support through increased presence and educational campaigns as well as an Environmental Impact Study for the dredging of sand from the bay.

“Pressures on humans and environment will continue to increase across Bonaire. Lac Bay will be faced with unprecedented levels of threats as recreational use and effects of climate change are steadily rising, like the increased influxes of sargassum and the deteriorating water conditions. Initiatives such as RESEMBID provide the tools needed to build local capacity and foster improved resilience in this critical natural area. I am very pleased the RESEMBID program granted funds to STINAPA to execute this project for Lac Bay”, according to commissioner Kroon.

Commissioner Thielman: “This is a very important project for the sustainable development of our island. Here we see how nature and economic development can go hand in hand. I am very grateful to the RESEMBID program for this financial contribution as well as to STINAPA for their vision to bring nature and sustainable economic development together”.

Follow along on STINAPA’s social media platforms for periodic updates as this project unfolds.

 

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Nederlands

Subsidie van de Europese Unie om natuurbescherming en duurzaam toerisme op Bonaire te versterken

Lac Baai is een uniek ecosysteem en een toeristische trekpleister. De baai herbergt koraalriffen, uitgestrekte zeegrasvelden en het grootste mangrovebos in het Nederlands Caribisch gebied.  Het Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme (RESEMBID) van de Europese Unie geeft een subsidie van  €792.480 aan Stichting Nationale Parken Bonaire (STINAPA) om deze mariene habitats te herstellen.

RESEMBID wordt uitgevoerd door Expertise France – het ontwikkelingssamenwerkingsbureau van de Franse regering. Het ondersteunt inspanningen voor duurzame menselijke ontwikkeling in 12 Caribische landen en gebieden overzee – Aruba, Anguilla, Bonaire, Britse Maagdeneilanden, de Kaaimaneilanden, Curaçao, Montserrat, Saba, Sint-Eustatius, Sint-Barthélemy, Sint-Maarten en de Turks- en Caicoseilanden.

“Lac Baai is een uiterst belangrijk ecosysteem. Het is een toevluchtsoord voor trekvogels, fungeert als een kraamkamer voor vissen en schildpadden, en is een belangrijke toeristische attractie op het eiland”, zegt Judith Raming, de manager van het Bonaire National Marine Park. In het kader van het project zal de handhavings capaciteit van het park worden versterkt. “Met de steun van RESEMBID kunnen onze parkwachters de natuurwetgeving beter handhaven. Ons team kijkt ernaar uit om te werken aan een duurzamere toekomst voor Lac!” zegt Raming.

Het project getiteld ‘‘Het realiseren van een Blauwe Economie op Bonaire: Het restaureren van de Mariene Biodiversiteit en het Promoten van de Duurzame Recreatie in Lac Baai” heeft vijf hoofddoelen: het restaureren van belangrijke mariene habitats, het promoveren van duurzame recreatie, het bevorderen van een betere handhaving van de wetgeving, het monitoren van de waterkwaliteit en het veiligstellen van de duurzame financiering.

Photo source: Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire

“We zijn erg verheugd om met STINAPA samen te werken aan dit belangrijke grootschalige project, inclusief een verscheidenheid aan geïntegreerde restauratie-activiteiten voor de unieke en complexe Lac-habitat”, zegt Francesca Virdis, Hoofd Operations Medewerker van de Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire. “Communicatie en de betrokkenheid van belanghebbenden zullen de sleutel zijn om te slagen en er uiteindelijk voor te zorgen dat zowel de natuur als de gemeenschap op lange termijn hiervan profiteren.”

Fabian Mckinnon, programmadirecteur bij RESEMBID “Het is een mooi toeval dat de overeenkomst van RESEMBID met STINAPA slechts enkele dagen na de Wereld Oceanendag van dit jaar werd afgerond, met als thema Revitalisatie: Collectieve Actie voor de Oceaan. Het werk dat STINAPA zal ondernemen om deze belangrijke mariene habitats te herstellen, is een goed voorbeeld van  collectieve actie. RESEMBID is erg enthousiast om zowel dit werk te financieren als de technische ondersteuning te geven die ervoor zal zorgen dat mensen van Bonaire de komende jaren van dit project kunnen profiteren.”

Het project, geinitieerd door de gedeputeerden James Kroon en Hennyson Thielman en gezaghebber Rijna, probeert de veerkracht van Lac Baai te verbeteren en duurzame recreatie aan te moedigen.

“De druk op mens en de natuur zal op Bonaire blijven toenemen. Lac Bay zal geconfronteerd worden met bedreigingen naarmate het recreatief gebruik en de effecten van klimaatverandering gestaag toenemen, zoals een grotere instroom van sargassum en de verslechterende watercondities. Initiatieven zoals dit van RESEMBID bieden het gereedschap aan dat nodig is om de lokale capaciteit op te bouwen en de veerkracht in dit belangrijk natuurgebied te verbeteren. Ik ben erg blij dat het RESEMBID-programma subsidie aan STINAPA heeft toegekend om dit project voor Lac Baai uit te voeren”, aldus gedeputeerde Kroon.

Gedeputeerde Thielman: “Dit is een heel belangrijk project voor de duurzame ontwikkeling van ons eiland. Hier zien we hoe de natuur en de economische ontwikkeling hand in hand kunnen gaan. Ik ben het RESEMBID-programma zeer dankbaar voor deze financiële bijdrage. Ook wil ik STINAPA complimenteren voor hun visie van het samenbrengen van de natuur en de duurzame economische ontwikkeling”.

Volg op de pagina’s van de sociale media van STINAPA de periodieke updates terwijl dit project zich verder ontwikkelt.

 

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Papiamentu

Supsidio di Union Oropeo pa reforsá protekshon di naturalesa i turismo duradero na Boneiru

Bahia di Lac ta un atrakshon grandi pa turismo ku por ta orguyoso di tin un variashon amplio di habitat koriendo di ref di koral na rant di e boka te na kama ekstenso di yerba di laman te na e mondi mas grandi di palu di mangel (mangrove) den region di Karibe Hulandes.  E área akí ta e sitio pa un seri di aktividat nobo pa restorá habitatnan marino importante den kuadro di un proyekto ku Stichting Nationale Parken Bonaire (STINAPA Bonaire) ta bai realisá ku fondo di parti di RESEMBID na rason di €792,480.

STINAPA Bonaire i “the Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme / Programa pa Resiliensia, Energia Duradero i Biodiversidat Marino (RESEMBID)” a firma e akuerdo pa supsidiá e proyekto riba djaluna 13 di yüni 2022.

RESEMBID ta traha ku fondo di Union Oropeo i ta implementá pa Expertise France – e agensia di desaroyo di koperashon di Gobièrnu di Fransia. E ta sostené esfuersonan duradero humano den 12 Pais i Teritorio Karibense (LGO) – Aruba, Anguilla, Boneiru, British Virgin Islands, Islanan Cayman, Curaçao, Montserrat, Saba, Statia, Saint Barthélemy, Sint Maarten i Islanan Turks i Caicos.

“Bahia di Lac ta un ekosistema sumamente importante. E ta un lugá di refugio pa para migratorio, e ta funshoná komo un krèsh pa piská i turtuga, i ta un atrakshon turístiko grandi riba e isla,” Judith Raming, Manager di Parke Nashonal Marino Boneiru a bisa. Ku e proyekto akí e kapasidat di personal di e Parke lo krese. “Ku e sosten di RESEMBID, nos rangernan di parke lo haña oportunidat pa bai ehekutá na forma mihó e mantenshon di e legislashon di naturalesa. Nos tim ta ansioso pa bai traha na un futuro mas duradero pa Lac!” Raming a deklará.

E proyekto bou di e título ‘‘Realisá un Ekonomia Blou na Boneiru: Restorando Biodiversidat Marino i Promoviendo Rekreo Duradero den Bahia di Lac” tin sinku meta prinsipal: restorá habitatnan marino importante, promové rekreo duradero, realisá kumplimentu ku legislashon di naturalesa, monitoreá kalidat di awa, i sigurá finansiamentu duradero.

Photo source: Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire

“Nos ta hopi ansioso pa kolaborá ku STINAPA den kuadro di e proyekto importante i grandi aki, inkluso un variedat di aktividat di restorashon integrá pa e habidat úniko i kompleho di Lac” Francesca Virdis, Hefe di Empleado di Operashon di Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire, a bisa. “Komunikashon i komprometementu  di stakeholdernan lo bira importante pa éksito i finalmente sigurá ku naturalesa i komunidat tur dos lo benefisiá na término largu.”

Fabian Mckinnon, Direktor di Programa na RESEMBID a bisa, “Ta kasi un tremendo koinsidensia ku a finalisá e akuerdo di RESEMBID ku STINAPA djis algun dia despues di selebrashon di Dia Mundial di Oséano di e aña akí, di kua e tema tabata Revitalisashon: Akshon Kolektivo  pa Oséano. E trabou ku STINAPA lo bai hasi pa restorá e habitatnan marino asina importante ta un ehèmpel fenomenal di e akshon kolektivo akí. RESEMBID ta realmente konmové pa tantu finansiá e trabou akí komo pa duna sosten tékniko ku lo sigurá ku esaki lo ta un proyekto duradero ku ta benefisiá e pueblo di Boneiru pa añanan pa bini”

Diputadonan James Kroon, Hennyson Thielman i Gezaghèber Rijna a duna inisio na e proyekto, ku ta trese kuné un seri di oportunidat interesante pa mehorá e salubridat i e resiliensia di Bahia di Lac, i tambe promové rekreo duradero. E proyekto ta inkluí restorashon di yerba di laman i di koral, alsa sosten na e parke ku mas presensia i kampaña edukashonal i tambe un Estudio di Impakto riba Medioambiente relashoná ku kobamentu di santu for di e bahia.

“Preshon riba hende i medioambiente lo sigui subi rònt Boneiru. Bahia di Lac lo bai su mes konfrontá ku nivelnan sin presedente di menasa dor di uso pa rekreo i efektonan di kambio di klima ku ta subi regularmente, manera e fluho entrante di sargasum i e deterioro di kondishon di awa. Inisiativanan manera e programa di RESEMBID ta duna e hèrmèntnan nesesario pa krea kapasidat lokal i desaroyá resiliensia mehorá pa e área natural importante akí. Mi ta sumamente kontentu ku e programa di RESEMBID a duna supsidio na STINAPA pa ehekutá e proyekto akí pa e Bahia di Lac”, segun diputado Kroon.

Diputado Thielman a trese dilanti: “Esaki ta un proyekto importante pa e desaroyo duradero di nos isla. Aki nos ta mira kon naturalesa i desaroyo ekonómiko por kana huntu man den man. Mi ta sumamente gradesido na e programa di RESEMBID pa e kontribushon finansiero pero tambe na STINAPA pa nan vishon pa trese naturalesa ku desaroyo ekonómiko duradero huntu”.

Sigui STINAPA su páginanan di medionan sosial pa informashon periódiko nobo tokante e desaroyo di e proyekto.

 

 

 

Published in BioNews 55.

Date
2022
Data type
Media
Theme
Governance
Education and outreach
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Bonaire
Author