St Eustatius National Marine Park

Note: The data were entered in the language of the country of origin (English, French or Spanish) and there is no translation available yet.

Chapter 5. CULTURAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC CRITERIA

(Guidelines and Criteria Section B / Cultural and Socio-Economic Criteria) Nominated Areas must conform, where applicable, to at least one of the three Cultural and Socio-Economic Criteria. If applicable, describe how the nominated site satisfies one or more of the following three Criteria (Attach in Annex any specific and relevant documents in support of these criteria).

Productivity:


On the edges of the reefs in the Marine Park you will find plentiful species including Jacks, Snappers, Grunts and Barracudas. This abundance is mainly thanks to the actively managed Marine Park, with no fishing zones in the reserves that creates a spill-over effect through the whole area. The fish population has increased dramatically over the last 15 years since the marine park was established which benefits the small local fishing population due to spill over.

The fishermen place their fish traps along the boundaries of the Marine Park where they know they will reap the most fish. Also the artificial reefs which were sunk for the fishermen in the general use areas of the Marine Park are seeing an increase in fish species and biomass.

Also because of the protected and no anchoring status of the reserves, the reefs within those areas are near pristine and attract divers from all over the world. The policy of the Marine Park is no unsupervised diving in order to keep the reefs in the condition that they are in at the moment.

Tankers  and regional cargo boats visit the Marine Park in order to conduct their business and they have to remain within the zone designated for their operations in order to maintain integrity of the rest of the Marine Park.

Cultural and traditional use:


The Marine Park has two no-take areas, one in the north, the northern reserve and one in the south, the southern reserve. Every other area is known as general use areas in which the local population can continue to fish in their traditional way but within the boundaries of the law. No dynamiting or using poison to fish for example. Also adhering to mimimum sizes for the take of lobster and conch.

The tradition of fishing by seine is still carried out on the island's main beach during the blue runner/jack season.

The Marine Park includes the beaches of the island and seasonal traditional activities are still carried out by the local population such as camp outs on the beaches for the easter season.

The Marine Park and the beaches are very important to the population and it is therefore equally important that they be allowed to make use of it in a sustainable manner conform the guidelines of the management.

Within the Marine park there are over 200 ship wrecks from the 17th and 18th centuries. St Eustatius is a very historical island and the waters of the Marine Park portray this. The Marine Park is unique in that it is one of the few Parks in the Caribbean that is a destination for wreck divers. Besides the 200 and 300 year old wrecks there are also modern wrecks that are as "young" as 10 years old and which were originally sunk in order to create artificial reefs for the fishermen.

 

One of these more modern wrecks named the Chien Tong and sunk in 2004 is habitat for the endangered sea turtles that forage in the local waters. The wreck is used as a sleeping area at night and as many as 40 sea turtles can be counted resting or sleeping in and on it in a single dive.

Socio-economic benefits:


The Marine Park has regulations regarding fishing in the general use areas. Regulations pertain to minimum specimen size as in the case of the spiny lobster and in the case of the Queen conch to a maximum catch amount. There are two reserves which are no-take no-anchor areas in order to preserve the coral reefs and the marine life in those areas.

Statia’s coral reef resources provide important goods and services to the economy of the island. The revenue that the resource is able to generate through coral reef associated tourism and fishery is approximately USD $11,200,454. Although this number is high, and highlights the importance of coral reefs to the island, it also suggests that there is an increased need for conservation, so that the value does not diminish.