Saba Bank National 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.


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 not given not given

Description of population, current human uses and development:

Traditionally the Saba Bank has been an important fishing area for the inhabitants of Saba. In 2007 there were 12 commercial fishing licenses issued for the Saba Bank. In 2000, fishing provided employment to a relatively large number of people (8% of the economically active population). About 20 people generate a living exclusively from the fishery, while a relatively large group of approximately 30 people find part-time employment in it and generates additional income in the fishery sector (Dilrosun 2000). The income that is generated by the fisheries sector is invested back into the Saba economy, since most of the fishermen are locals. Taxes and income are generated from sales of fuel, two-stroke oil, fishing gear, spare parts and engines. Such associated economic activities are also significant contributors to the island economy. The Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) fishery is without doubt the most important fishery on the island. The total lobster catch for 2007 is estimated to be 184,000 lbs (83.6 mt) tons, which represents a gross value of 2.3 million NAf (approximately US$ 1.3 million, Toller et al 2007). The fishermen primarily fish for lobster on the eastern half of the Bank. This is due partially to the closer proximity to Saba. Some fishermen do fish areas on the Southeast side of the Bank. Bycatch from the lobster pots can be an important factor.

Activities Current human uses Possible development Description / comments, if any
Tourism absent increase Tourism on the Bank is still undeveloped. Local dive operators on Saba currently have no interest in offering dive trips to the Bank. Live aboard dive operators active in the region are not currently diving on the Saba Bank but could easily develop an interest once information about dive sites becomes available. Fishing charter boats from St. Maarten do take clients to fish the Saba Bank but the information on this is limited and likely not of large economic importance.
Fishing very important stable Tbere are currently some indications of overfishing. A monitoring program has started in 2011
Agriculture absent decrease N.A.
Industry absent unknown Future oil exploration cannot be ruled out
Forestry absent decrease N.A.
Others not specified not specified N.A.

e - Other relevant features

Until the Saba Bank became a protected area in late 2010, tankers were routinely using the Saba Bank as an anchoring site, remaining anchored for one day or day up to one month. In 2010 a total of 25 ships were recorded anchored for an average of 7.5 days per ship. The heavy chains on the ship's anchors do tremendous damage to the bottom and presumably over the years a lot of bottom life was destroyed on the Saba Bank, from sponges to corals and even solid rock structures were leveled by such chains. With the anchroing prohibition this topped, and it is hoped that a proces of recovery of the bottom fauna will now start.