Saba National Marine Park

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Chapter 3. SITE DESCRIPTION

d - Human population and current activities

Inhabitants inside the area or in the zone of potential direct impact on the protected area:


Inside the area In the zone of potential direct impact
Permanent Seasonal Permanent Seasonal
Inhabitants not given not given 2000 25000

Comments about the previous table:


Around 25,000 annual visitors to Saba (2010 figures). See Attachment 7.

Description of population, current human uses and development:


The population of Saba (the Sabans) consists of only 2000 people who come from all over the world. The island's small size has led to a fairly small number of island families, who can trace their last names back to around a half-dozen families.

With population centers on the island lying at least 240 m above sea level, direct human impacts on the marine resources are limited. There is little industry on the island and no significant agriculture. Thus, effluents such as pesticide and industrial chemicals are limited.

The economy of Saba is dependent on tourism; 66% is dive related. The Saba Marine Park, which surrounds the entire island, hosts about 6,000 divers per year who carry out approximately 30,000 dives.

Fishing within the marine park is limited but becoming a more significant threat given the change in status of neighbouring fishing grounds. Spear fishing in the marine park has become an issue in recent years.

According to island law, all coastal developments must be preceded by an independent environmental impact assessment. However, with future political changes there may be pressure to develop a marina and hotel/dive resort in the southern part of the island at Giles Quarter.

For further details see Attachments 19, 11 and 4.

Activities Current human uses Possible development Description / comments, if any
Tourism very important stable Visitor number have slowly increased over the last 15 years from 20-25,000 visitors per year to 25-30,000 visitors per year.
Fishing significant stable 23 people work in agriculture and fisheries, of whom 4 have agriculture as their main source of income. In the past, many fishermen have turned to work in the construction industry (Polunin & Roberts, 1993). However, many of the fishermen still fish recreationally and in total there are perhaps about eighty recreational fishermen. Fishing practices are low impact within the Saba Marine Park because there are relatively few fishermen, low impact techniques are used and commercial boats tend to fish on the Saba Bank.
Agriculture absent unknown
Industry absent unknown
Forestry absent unknown
Others not specified not specified

e - Other relevant features

Since 1972, there has been a rock crushing operation and quarry situated on the south coast of the island. The company pay a nominal fee to the Government to export building materials and also supply local construction materials.

Educational feature:


Education is a very important part of the work of SCF and the Marine Park is a significant resource for local students through to international visitors who come annually on planned education based trips.

Scientific feature:


The marine park provides a scientific resource as a zoned site with endangered habitats, with varying controls on the use of the natural resources.

Research feature:


The Marine Park has been a significant site for scientific research since it's establishment, providing data on fisheries, diver impacts and a range of other topics. For details on monitoring see Attachment 20.

Historical feature:


Little is known about the value of the historical features of the Marine Park.

Archaeological feature:


Little is known about the value of the archaeological features of the Marine Park.