St Eustatius National Marine Park

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Chapter 7. MONITORING AND EVALUATION

In general, describe how the nominated site addresses monitoring and evaluation


It is vital for the Marine Park to have accurate and up to date information about the marine environment (both marine life and habitat) in order to establish appropriate rules and regulations to ensure adequate protection. To this end, the Marine Park arranges specific research projects to answer questions from management and from stakeholders or assist with determination of appropriate regulations. Ongoing monitoring programs provide information to compare change against time, and gauge whether management activities of the Marine Park are effective. Routine monitoring includes dive site use, Reef Check (substrate, fish and invertebrate populations), coral bleaching, Marine Life surveys and sea turtle nesting. A large number of research and monitoring projects have been conducted in recent years.

Highlights include:

2004: fish populations increased as a result of protection offered by Statia Marine Park

To assess the impact of the management strategies implemented in the Marine Park, a study was conducted in 2004 to collect data regarding the fish population; this was a more extensive repeat of a survey performed in 1992 which gathered baseline information about the fish population before the area was given protected status.

2013: survey of artificial reef for fishermen indicates increased fish diversity

An artificial reef project was initiated following a meeting with fisherman in February 2004; they requested that the Marine Park create an artificial reef designated solely for fishing, and not as a dive site. It was agreed at that meeting to locate the new reef at a depth of 75 feet, west of the Southern Marine Reserve. The reef was completed in February 2006 with the sinking of a pipe, concrete mix barrel and the tug boat “Miss Cathy”.

A survey to assess the fish population after six months found that both fish diversity and density had increased when compared to the results of the survey conducted prior to the creation of the reef. Diversity increased from 14 to 18 species, and more than twice as many fish were recorded than in the initial survey. This survey is conducted annually with numbers in 2013 showing the number of species had risen to 44.

2007: study shows tankers impact reef negatively

Disputes have arisen in past years between the local fishermen and Statia Terminals NV when oil tankers going to the terminal run over fish traps and cut away the markers turning them into ghost traps. This study (White et al., 2007) was conducted from 2004-7 to assess the damage caused to the coral reefs in the Marine Park by both the setting and retrieval of the tankers’ anchors as well as the damage done while the vessel is “stationary”.

Ongoing: Inwater Sea Turtle survey

This survey is conducted every three years to assess the foraging population of sea turtles in the Marine Park. It is a visual survey along transects to calculate the cpue. 

 

 Marine Life Survey

This is done at the wrecks within the park to assess the diversity and populations of ALL marine life on the wreck. Not only does it include fish and invertebrates but coral and algea cover as well.

 

 

In addition to environmental monitoring, STENAPA has taken part in the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) Management Success Project for the last 10 years. The management success project is an ongoing DCNA project designed to measure the management effectiveness of each of the park management organizations in the Dutch Caribbean. The management success project has developed a tool for collecting data using objective indicators to measure ’success’ across a broad spectrum of protected area management tasks and activities. Ultimately, the management success project can be used as a model for park organizations to improve accountability, transparency and professionalism.

What indicators are used to evaluate management effectiveness and conservation success, and the impact of the management plan on the local communities


Indicators by category Comments
Evaluation of management effectiveness
management success project Graphics and detailed analysis of management effort enables redirection of management effort if necessary.
Threat vs effort Independent evaluation of the threats facing the park vs effort spent addressing the threats
Time distribution Managers personal log of time distribution compared to the organisations outputs.
Evaluation of conservation measures on the status of species populations within and around protected area
Reef check, fish counts, marine life surveys
Evaluation of conservation measures on the status of habitats within and around the protected area
Reef Check, Coral Watch
Evaluation of conservation measures on the status of ecological processes within and around the protected area
marine life survey
Evaluation of the impact of the management plan on the local communities
Surveys, events, membership drives