Saba National Marine Park

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Present briefly the proposed area and its principal characteristics, and specify the objectives that motivated its creation :

Saba is located in the North Eastern Caribbean (17°38N, 63°14W) near St Eustatius (Netherlands.), St. Martin (Netherlands/France.), U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and 20 other inhabited islands. These together form the Lesser Antillean Island Arc, which stretches from Puerto Rico in the North to the coastline of Venezuela in the South

Saba National Marine Park, an 800 hectare (2,000 acres) protected area, was established in 1987 to safeguard the island’s pristine coral reefs and the marine environment. The park extends from the high-tide mark to a depth of 60 meters (197 feet), circling the entire island.

A zoning plan divides the park between recreational and commercial uses and a system of permanent mooring buoys facilitates diving and prevents anchoring damage to the corals.

The Saba National Marine Park is home to an abundance of fish as a result of restrictions on fishing and anchoring. There still large Groupers, Hinds and Coneys that are in healthier populations than many other locations in the Caribbean. Both Green Turtles and Hawksbills thrive within the Marine Park and divers may be fortunate enough to spot Hammerhead Sharks, Whale Sharks and Manta Rays

Explain why the proposed area should be proposed for inclusion in the SPAW list

The Saba National Marine Park offers effective legal protection to the marine habitats, species and environment as a whole that lie within its boundaries. This offers the species refuge from anthropogenic threats, whilst sustaining natural resources and processes. The site is a home and stop over for 32 species listed in SPAW Annex II and +/- 238 Annex III species, as well as many species listed in other conservation initiatives (see Attachment 12). 

Saba National Marine Park is a very popular destination for SCUBA divers. Several dive operators work with tourists on Saba, bringing in significant amounts of income to the economy annually. ‘The Pinnacles’ are a favored dive site, being the site seamounts that rise from deep waters to a maximum of 25m (80ft), attracting a wealth of marine life.

Saba National Marine Park was legally recognized in 1987 and Saba Conservation Foundation has a mandate to manage the site. Also established in 1987, Saba Conservation Foundation is an experienced nature management organization, and continues to work effectively with stakeholders in the pursuit of it’s conservation goals. The Saba Marine Park was designated a National Park in 2010

The Saba National Marine Park is a hub for ecological and management networking between neighboring marine parks and their management organisations on St Martin and St Eustatius as well as other neighboring islands. Saba Conservation Foundation, is also a key part of a wider regional networking initiative - The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance.

Saba’s population historically and currently relies very heavily on coastal and marine resources for economic, social and cultural well being. Considering the threats facing these natural resources, the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Protocol (SPAW) will provide far reaching solutions to the challenges faced with regards to coastal resource management. Saba National Marine Park addresses all of the necessary criteria for inclusion in the list  (under Annex V. Final Guidelines and Criteria for the Evaluation of Protected Areas to be listed).

According to you, to which Criteria it conforms (Guidelines and Criteria B Paragraph 2)

Conservation value
Critical habitats

Cultural and socio-economic criterias

Cultural and traditional use
Socio-economic benefits