Saba National Marine Park

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(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).


The Saba Bank National Marine Park helps conserve, maintain and restore natural processes at the habitat and species level. There is regular exchange for feeding and reproduction and continuous movement of water and animals between reefs, seagrass and benthic habitats within and adjacent to the Saba National Marine Park.

This maintains processes and provides a wide variety of natural resources that are used by the local human population. Processes such as dispersal of juveniles and resources such as fish that are extracted from adjacent waters.

Cultural and traditional use:

Only Saba residents are allowed to fish within the Saba National Marine Park. Fishing is allowed in approximately two-thirds of the Park. Most fishing is done with a traditional hook and line, nets are not used in the Park. Some trolling takes place.

Socio-economic benefits:

In 1995, a first economic valuation was completed, The Saba Marine Park, as it was then, through its management and attraction to visitors generated $1.9 million, almost a quarter of the islands GDP.

Income generation, in order of importance with the largest contributor first, came from dive tourists, yacht tourists, cruise ship tourists, use of the hyperbaric chamber facility, fishing, donations and research.

With increases in visitors and development of the tourism product since the mid 1990's this figure may well have increased in real terms and as a percentage of GDP.

In 2014, a new, comprehensive socio-economic valuation study "What is Saba's Nature worth" was completed. The study included calculations of cultural and educational as well as tourism values of nature (fishery value is mostly generated from the off shore Saba Bank and not in the Saba National Marine Park waters) and produced detailed maps of the value of both the marine and terrestrial environment. The total value for the marine environment was calculated to be ~$ 4.4 million. 99% of this value is generated by tourism. The habitat value maps show that the highest value marine areas are effectively protected in the no-take zones of the marine park.

These values contrast sharply with the values caculated in 1996, and show a more than doubling of value over 18 years. This can be attributed to the effectiveness of the Saba Marine Park.


For more information see Attachment 4 and 28