St Eustatius National Marine ParkNote: The data were entered in the language of the country of origin (English, French or Spanish) and there is no translation available yet.
Chapter 2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Present briefly the proposed area and its principal characteristics, and specify the objectives that motivated its creation :
The St Eustatius National Marine Park was created in 1996 and extends around the entire island from the high water line to 30m depth contour. The park covers an area of 27.5km2 and protects a variety of habitats, including pristine coral reefs (drop off walls, volcanic ‘fingers’ and ‘bombs’, spur and groove systems) and 18th century shipwrecks. It includes two no-take zones (reserves) as well as general use zones and designated anchoring zones for large commercial ships.
The Marine Park's objectives are to conserve marine biodiversity, protect fish stocks and promote sustainable tourism.
Explain why the proposed area should be proposed for inclusion in the SPAW list
The coral reefs of the Marine Park boast a high biodiversity. Over 50% cover (with over 43% coral and 15% sponges) has been recorded in the Reserves. A wide array of tropical reef creatures resides in and around these reefs as well. Among these species are: Angelfish, Butterflyfish, Flying Gurnard, Moray Eels, Spotted Drums, Frogfish, Sea Horses, Octopus, Lobster, Rays, Sharks, and Turtles. From January to April, the calls of Dolphins and Whales can often be heard as they migrate through the Marine Park. Healthy conch and lobster populations, especially in the no-fishing zones, form a recruitment source for neighouring islands.
There are three main species of sea turtles nesting on St. Eustatius. These are the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), the green (Chelonia mydas – the major nesting species on Statia) and the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata). All of them are endangered or critically endangered species as classified by IUCN. There has also been one unconfirmed report of a nesting fourth species – the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) which IUCN classes as threatened.